Preview: Kotoko vs. Al Hilal

Kumasi Asante Kotoko having booked a group stage berth of the ongoing Confederation of African Football (CAF) Confederations Cup, after beating Coton Sport of Senegal has a daunting task against Sudanese champions Al Hilal, on Sunday, February 3, in Sudan.

The Porcupine Warriors, would be hoping to avoid defeat in their first group stage game against the most successful club in Sudan, left the shores of Ghana, with an eighteen man squad, with midfielder Emmanuel Gyamfi describing the encounter as a game that would determine their qualification from the group stages.

With kotoko being absent from the confederation’s group stage since 2008, would be hoping to go a step further and possibly win the continental trophy as they have managed to score a goal in all their three previous preliminary matches with a total of seven and conceding four goals in the process.

Though Kotoko is beaming with confidence as they head into Sunday’s game, they are however sweating over Abass Mohammed’s injury he sustained at training and that of their versatile captain Amos Frimpong, who would have to pass a late fitness test to face Al-Hilal according to sources.

Aside Daniel Nii Adjei, Jordan Opoku and goalkeeper Muntari Tagoe, who have ever played in the group stage of the competition before, the rest of the team members are inexperienced when it comes to this stage of the competition.

Kotoko, would therefore counnt on the experience of these three players when it matters most to succeed in Sudan.

With an additional booster $150, 000 from government and an increase in per diem of the players, morale is definitely on the high in camp for victory.

Obviously, Sunday's fixture could prove stern test for the Kumasi based club as Al Hilal are bent on picking a three maximum points to cushion them in the subsequent group matches.

With goalkeeper Jumma Ginaro and Mohamed Darag, resuming raining on Tuesday after missing Monday's league clash, the Sudanese would have the needed confidence to go pass every danger thrown at them from Kotoko.

Midfielder Emmanuel Gyamfi ahead of the games, has this caution for his team mates, "it is obviously going to be a tough game for us, we have watched some of their games and the atmosphere in the stadium is always charged.

"But I believe we can enjoy the game and frustrate them if we stick to the game plan we would be using, where we need to play as a team and avoid mistakes, especially in midfield and defence.

"This game would be crucial to our dream of qualifying from the group stage because it would urge us on and also put fear in the other opponents of the group, a good outcome would help us win the remaining games and make our supporters proud," he said.