Kumasi Asante Kotoko would renew their rivalry against King Faisal when they lock horns today at the Ohene Ameyaw Park at Techiman in an outstanding match day 15 clash.
The derby which will miss its traditional setting at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi due to ongoing renovations on the facility is set to rekindle the intensity and drama generated by the Ashanti derby last witnessed in 2014.
That game was settled by a lone goal from Faisal forward Wilson Andoh to avenge a 3-0 drubbing in the hands of the ‘Porcupines Warriors’ the previous year.
Just like how that game proved pivotal in Faisal’s fight for survival seven year back, even though they failed to stay in the top-flight, they find themselves confronted by a similar situation where they need a win to ease their relegation fears as they lie 16th on the table.
A shocking 4-3 comeback win against Berekum Chelsea at Techiman and a 1-0 win against Medeama at the same venue highlighted their resolve to survive the relegation scare.
This has been strengthened by the addition of experienced GPL campaigners such as Paul Aidoo and Atta Kusi to their squad with the duo making an immediate impact in their 1-0 win at home against Liberty Professionals on Sunday.
Kotoko’s enviable record on the road where they lost for the first time on Sunday against Elmina Sharks by a lone goal is in sharp contrast with their goal scoring problems which is compounding.
This presents a big challenge to Head Coach Abdulai Gazelle who saw his side slump to eighth on the league log and must get players like Emmanuel Gyamfi, Naby Keita and Augustine Okrah to support Kwame Opoku in the goal scoring department if they are to emerge the superior side and keep their title chase on course.
Fortunately, Faisal has in their fold one of the leagues enterprising arrowheads in Kwame Peprah whose nine goals has been a life-saver for the home side.
The efforts of midfielder Wududu Yakubu and Peprah’s strike partner Boateng Frimpong would also be influential to Faisal’s effort to shock their rivals just like 2014.