Minnows Nzema Kotoko face AshantiGold in the Tier II of the NC Special Competition final at the Cape Coast Stadium on Sunday looking for their first major silverware in the Ghanaian football arena.
Coach Christian Lokko’s side, who saw off Unistar Academy 2-1 in the semi-final, face 4-time Ghana Premier League title winners, who were winners of the 1992/93 FA Cup and 2-time finalists for the competition which is equivalent to the Tier II.
The two sides are in the battle for the ticket for Ghana’s representative at next season’s CAF Confederation Cup. With Asante Kotoko claiming the CAF Champions League slot, Sunday’s final will produce a ticket bearer.
Before locking horns with the Miners the Red Army of Nzemaland have gone on an incredible away winning run in the competition beating Karela, Vision FC, Heart of Lions and Unistar Academy.
The side on a rollercoaster ride are etching an awesome story in their 5-year history. The Asanta-based side, whose name is synonymous with Ghana Premier League record winners – Asante Kotoko, was founded in 2014 and have progressed rapidly rising through the ranks to secure second-tier league football.
Their opponents on Sunday – AshantiGold, have undergone some decent revolution under Norwegian Kjetil Zachariassen since he took over the reigns two months ago. Though his side fell to Karela United 1-0 in the Tier I semi-final at the Len Clay Stadium they recovered quite well greatly to trounce Tier I eventual winners Asante Kotoko 3-1 at the Accra Sports Stadium to secure the final berth.
AshantiGold’s high-pressing and mobile possession football gilded with eye-catching displays will face sterner test from unknown gallants turning heads and winning hearts with sweeping admiration for their dexterity.
Roland Amouzou, Richard Djodi and Appiah McCarthy are breathtaking to watch in the midfield for the Miners. But, they will meet their match in Roland Frimpong, captain Takyi Amoah, and assist king Felix Bleman. Bleman’s vision and artistry when he’s in possession of the ball have been unparalleled in the Tier II as he has set up goals for both Akesse Akesse and Agyenim Boateng Mensah who have 14 goals in between them. The real problem AshantiGold would have to deal with will be Kotoko’s midfield workhorse Amoah. The skipper has five years of experience under his belt and he’s not just familiar in the middle but is extremely difficult to get past. He shuts down the opposition’s move at will, destroys systems and attacks and is able to start fresh ones in favour of his side.
Midfield maestro Abdul Latif Anabila is out of the game with suspension.
Nzema Kotoko’s short history has been plated with swift switches into success with Mallam Yahaya, Angelo Djidon and Kobinah Amissah all taking lead roles. One player who has benefited from the quick transformation at the club is Abdul Rashid. The youngster started his spell at the club partnering Takyi in central midfield but was shifted to the lateral defence by Mallam Yahaya and is currently regarded as one of the best operational lateral defenders in the entire second-tier league.
Christian Lokko couldn’t get to the limelight during his spells at King Faisal and Tema Youth but his magnificent run with this side is shooting him close to silverware. The 51-year-old was appointed substantive coach at the club just before the start of the Tier II following the exit of Kobinah Amissah and Angelo Djidon.