President’s Cup:Hearts, Kotoko slug it out

Author: George Ernest Asare
Emmanuel Gyamfi-Kotoko

There could not have been a better kick off to the local football season than a match between the two biggest clubs and archrivals, Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko.

The two clash at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday, December 15 for the President’s Cup, a trophy that is not just prestigious to win but has become part of the bragging rights for the winners

Already, fans of the two teams have started their taunting,with either side claiming to have the edge over the other and in a better position to grab the trophy.

However, it is the psychological boost that such a victory on Sunday presents, that have set the fans into talking tough as it definitely will serve as a foretaste of what their clubs are, respectively, preparing to dish out during the league.

Ahead of the clash, both sides have stepped up their preparations, not just for the President’s cup, but for the season’s campaign, taking part in some friendly games.

While Hearts traveled to Togo to defeat second division side Etoile Filante 1-0  in Lome last Friday, Kotoko were in Cape Coast, the same day, and beat Premier League side Ebusua Dwarfs  2-0.

It was Mitchel Sarpong , a product of Hearts Academy, who scored the only goal of the match for Hearts that turned out to be the match winner in the match which Hearts dominated for the greater part of the game.

In Cape Coast,  it was  nimble-footed Emmanuel Gyamfi and striker Sogne Yacouba who fetched Kotoko’s goals in either half of the match to win the day for their side at the Robert Mensah stadium, where their fans greeted them with much cheers after the match.

The victory of the two clubs last Friday seemed to have boosted the morale of both players and club officials, such that when Graphic Sports Online  spoke to the Chief Executive Officer of Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Mr George Amoako, he dismissed the threat of Accra Hearts of Oak on Sunday.

He said  Kotoko were in a class of their own and would add  Hearts to  their victims to prove that they were ready to dominate Ghana football this season for them to venture into Africa again.

“ Against Dwarfs, they were no match for our boys who  have taken the pre- season training very seriously.

We are prepared for Hearts, and on Sunday, our supporters will not be disappointed. This is because we will display world class football for them to appreciate”, he asserted.

Though under pressure from their fans to put up more convincing performances, the Hearts technical bench say the game against Kotoko will bring out the intrinsic motivation from the players as they step out to assure their fans of being ready for the season.

“ All this while, we have been training and preparing for the new season and now, there is every reason for us to come out and prove that we are ready for the season. On Sunday, the boys will be out to prove that point,” an official of Hearts also indicated.

With the battle lines drawn, supporters of both sides, including many observers, are likely to troop to the Accra Sports Stadium in their numbers on Sunday  to see which side wins the bragging rights of the President’s Cup