Very soon four clubs have an opportunity to bring back fame to Ghana football as they prepare to compete in this year CAF Champions and Confederation leagues respectively following the parings released by Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) last year.
These competitions have been there for the best teams in all the countries on the basis of performance and slot allocations to compete for a continental wear. In the middle of last year Ghana regain its four slots due to the performance of Berekum Chelsea in the 2011/2012 season.
For all you know competitions of such nature are pivoted on readiness of teams in terms of good coaches and tactics, quality for that matter experience players, cohesion in the team, discipline and motivation across the continent which serve as a recipe for achieving a feat.
The last time Ghana won a club championship in Africa, was back in the days of Sir Cecil Jones Attuquayefio who led Accra Hearts of Oak to defeat Esperance of Tunisia 5 – 2 on aggregate to lift the champions league in 2000, clinched the super cup in addition and later in the year 2004 earned the CAF Confederation Cup defeating arch rivals Kumasi Asante Kotoko 8-7 on penalties at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium.
Ever since then, the story has been different until some seasons passed when Berekum Chelsea proved that all was not lost after they got to the group stage of the CAF champions league only to have their dreams shattered off by likes of current champions Al Ahly of Egypt and twice champions TP Mazembe of DR Congo.
Now the battle has been handed over to Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Berekum Chelsea (now FC Berekum) to vie for the CAF Champions league crown whiles MTN 2012 FA CUP winners Medeama SC accompanied by Mysterious Ebusua Dwarfs test their bubbles in the Confederation.
Owing to the first round of the 2013/2014 Ghana Premier League season, as a football faithful I saw the output of certain clubs among these four teams who have really shown they can rub shoulders with the rest of the competing teams. But i wonder how far these teams would go.
Undoubtedly, for an experience side like Kotoko lying comfortably at the apex of the league log through out the first round after an opening seven points gap from title contenders Ashanti Gold and Hearts of Oak, though a favorite need to give a 120% performance shown in the said round of Ghana’s topflight this season into the champions league this year. They will host Liberia’s Barrack Young Controllers F.C in the first leg at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium on February 7-9, 2014 with the return game fixed for the weekend of February 14-16, 2014.
FC Berekum now was not the same Berekum Chelsea we knew some seasons back where they really broke that mantra of Ghana’s league of being a two horse race between Hearts and Kotoko to clinch the league for the first time and then later represented the country in their first ever continental competition but could not bring the trophy though they did entered the money zone and faced the likes of current champions Al Ahly of Egypt and twice champions TP Mazembe of DR Congo. Berekum Chelsea will be at home and welcomed South Sudan side Atlabara FC in that same month.
Currently, FC Berekum lies second from the bottom of the league table after a total of 15 matches played. This indicates that all is not well for the Berekum lads. I am afraid that they could not get close to the money group when the preliminaries start in February this year.
For the 2012 MTN FA Cup champions, Medeama, it will be their maiden taste for a continental show in the history of the club. Occupying sixth on the league just after the break, signing new players like ex-Liberty and Kotoko star Michael Helegbe, Ben Akuffo among others with experience to beef up the squad could help them pull a little surprise. The Mauves as they called will travel to Equatorial Guinea where they will take on Panther’s within the stipulated month.
Frankly, if a team needs more support especially in the area of fasting and prayers that all things should go well as far this year CAF Confederation is concerned and beyond, then is Mysterious Ebusua Dwarfs. I do not foresee Dwarfs per their performance this season from the first round progress to the money zone of the CAF Confederations this year. Dwarfs opponent will be Jaraaf of Senegal at home.
Of course, Ghana’s representatives would have it very tough in this season’s CAF champions’ league and confederation cup. However, it would take an extra work for any of the four teams to progress to the group stage and if possible go ahead into grand finale to win the ultimate.
Do you agree or disagree?
By Ebenezer Zor