Sports News of Saturday, 5 August 2017
Asante Kotoko will be returning to the field on Sunday for competitive action when they take on fiercest rivals Hearts of Oak for the first time since the bus wreck that killed their deputy equipment officer three weeks ago.
Thomas Obeng Asare died in the August 12 fatal accident at Nkawkaw in the Eastern region.
The team was on its way back to Kumasi after a league fixture the driver, for some unknown reason, went off the roadway and struck a truck. He is still receiving treatment.
The Porcupines were given a two break to recover from various injuries and trauma but Wednesday marked the return of the team to the field in their first game since the wreck.
They defeated third tier side Nat Costa FC 4-1 in a test game ahead of the crunchy this weekend.
With the exception of Ollenu Ashittey and Michael Akuffo who are still nursing injuries, all other players are available for selection on Sunday.
Head coach Steven George Polack and assistant Godwin Ablordey will need clearance from team medics before they can be present at the dugout for this duel.
Nothing could be sweeter than beating your bitterest rivals on return from a deadly wreck.
Despite having two league games at hand, the Reds are 5th on the table and could move to 4th with just a point behind the Phobians when they win on Sunday.
Heart of Oak have their eyes on the ultimate as they aim at reducing the points deficit between them and the top spot on the league log.
They are trailing the leaders Aduana Stars by just five points and a victory on the weekend will see them remain 3rd but close the gap.
The Phobians reached the semifinals of the MTN FA Cup last Sunday after beating second tier side Danbort FC in a difficult fashion.
A penalty goal by Vincent Atinga was what they needed to overcome the regional rivals.
Mercurial midfielder Winful Kwaku Cobbinah was rested in the last weekend’s cup game.
He is available for selection for the big clash this Sunday. Frank Elliott Nuttall has a full strength squad to travel to Kumasi except Inusah Musah who is now recovering from a lengthy lay off.
HEAD TO HEAD
Total league meetings = 105
Asante Kotoko SC wins = 35
Hearts of Oak wins = 35
Drawn matches = 35
~ Asante Kotoko SC have lost only one of their last eight matches in the premier league. (W4 D3 L1)
~ Hearts of Oak have lost just three of their last fourteen fixtures in the premier league. They have two losses in their last four. (W8 D3 L3)
~ Asante Kotoko SC are unbeaten in their last twenty one home premiership games. They have two victories in their last seven. (W12 D9 L0)
~ Hearts of Oak have managed only three away wins in the premier league this season after eleven attempts. (W3 D3 L5)
~ Asante Kotoko SC have lost just twice in their last twelve meetings with Hearts of Oak in the premiership. (W5 D5 L2)
~ Hearts of Oak have lost only two of their last thirteen visits to Asante Kotoko SC in the premier league. (W5 D6 L2)
~ Asante Kotoko SC have kept six clean sheets out of their eleven home fixtures in the premier league this campaign.
~ Hearts of Oak have managed to keep just four clean sheets in eleven travelings this season in the premiership.