Kotoko return into this season’s MTN FA Cup this Wednesday and ahead of the eagerly-awaited clash with Division One side, NEA Salamina at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, we look at the five major talking points surrounding the game.
Nature of the FA Cup
The FA Cup is known for giving “minnows” from the lower divisions the chance of eliminating Premier League giants. This year’s campaign hasn’t been different since some Premier League clubs have already fallen victims. The casualties that come to mind are WAFA who fell to Amidaus Professionals; Aduana Stars who were beaten by Techiman Eleven Wonders; Ashgold who lost to Asokwa Deportivo and Liberty Professionals who were edged out by Danbort FC.
The Porcupines joined the campaign at the Round of 64 stage. The team was then under care-taker coach, Frimpong Manso. They faced Bekwai Youth Academy at the Gyamfi Park, Bekwai, winning 3-1 on penalties after it ended 1-1 in regulation time. The team proceeded to beat Proud United 1-0 at the Swedru in the Central Region in the Round of 32 stage. Kotoko’s first home game in the competition against Wassaman United and with a spot kick, neatly taken by Amos Frimpong, victory was delivered and a quarterfinal berth secured.
Kotoko have played three matches so far in the competition all against Division One sides. The pre-match talk always described the duels as a ‘David-Goliath’ affair but the games didn’t quite reflect that as the Porcupines couldn’t get convincing wins in any of them. In a competition noted for upsets, the least a Premier League side can do is to guard against overconfidence. Eschewing out complacency in this case is more relevant.
Chances of Winning
Kotoko have a bright chance of winning the game. Why not? It’s always interesting watching a one-off competitive game involving Kotoko and a lower division side. Don’t be surprised to see NEA Salamina inspired by their new surroundings to deliver shock, early threats that will lead to nothing. Kotoko have quality players, pedigree and experience to win. The Porcupines should be able to withstand any threat and impose themselves on the game. The odds favour Kotoko but the players need a positive attitude to make victory possible. As Ernest Sowah has said, the team must have “strong desire to win”.
Steven Polack’s right knee is still is a knee brace but the English tactician is likely to be at the bench as he did in the game against Hearts of Oak. Polack has an array of players to choose from especially with the five Chan players returning from their match in Ouagadougou. Polack has a good number of regular and fringe players available. It’s possible he will rest a few of his regulars as the date for the league game away to WAFA approaches.