Football fans in Ghana are set to witness one of the most anticipated Hearts of Oak versus Asante Kotoko SC in recent time with both teams boasting of some fine midfielders in their ranks.
The nation’s flagship fixture returns to the local scene over the weekends with both teams heading into the capital showdown with dramatic wins.
Accra Hearts of Oak Sc rallied back from a goal down to earn a 2-1 win over Liberty Professionals FC at the Dansoman Carl Reindorf Park whiles Asante Kotoko SC left it very late at home to Ebusua Dwarfs in their warm it exercise to Accra.
442gh.com takes a look at the midfield combo for both teams heading into the winner takes all at the Accra Sports stadium.
Accra Hearts of Oak SC currently parade Benjamin Afutu, Fredrick Ansah Botchway and Emmanuel Nettey as their midfield trio whiles their rivals have Justice Blay, Mudasiru Salifu and one of Collins Ameyaw or Kwame Adom Frimpong.
Blessed with ball winners and exceptional passers of the ball, Accra Hearts of Oak Sc sealed their midfield department with the arrival of Ansah Botchway, Nurudeen Aziz and Emmanuel Nettey in the winter transfer window. It was a move that ended several calls for reinforcement from the teaming fan base. Nettey and Ansah have since showed their class, allowing Benjamin Afutu to surge forward intermittently from deep midfield.
The trident has since changed the ailing fortunes of Accra Hearts of Oak Sc with 7 points from the last 3 matches as against 0 point from the opening 2 league matches without the trio. Fredrick Ansah added composure to the Phobians whiles Nettey’s class showed at the Carl Reindorf against Liberty Professionals. It is a combo that has so far promised fruitful campaign in the newly expanded 34-week domestic season.
Against a midfield trio of Justice Blay, Mudasiru Salifu and one of Martin Antwi, Collins Ameyaw or Kwame Adom Frimpong, Accra Hearts of Oak SC midfield engine is set for its true litmus of the season. Justice Blay has already inked his name into the annals of Asante Kotoko SC as one of the finest in recent times whiles Antwi’s versatility makes him unpredictable.
The two tacticians for the capital showdown, Edward Odoom and Maxwell Konadu, will have to unleash the tactical nous in them to stand any chance of picking a point in the biggest domestic league match in Ghana. From tactical battle with the ball to technical interpretation of the game without the ball, the pundits of the game are watching closely how the central department of the pitch will be used. One thing is guaranteed, the winner of the midfield battle automatically wins the game.
Already using a camouflaged version of 4-2-3-1, Asante Kotoko SC might find place for four midfielders thanks to the utility nature of Martin Antwi. If deployed, Edward Odoom’s three men ball winners will need the support of their flying wide men to shore up the numbers. This will naturally reduce the attacking thread from the Phobians in a system expected to be 4-3-3 from the start.
The work rate of Kofi Kordzi and Kojo Obeng Junior will be needed at the center of the pitch as well in their defensive 4-5-1 system. This will likely Joseph Esso as the lead man attacking upfront.
442gh.com will monitor closely to find out the 18-man contingent for both teams to get an inform view of the systems to expect in Accra.