Attempts to get into the highly competitive stage of the CAF Champions League have yielded no impressive result in over a decade. Either the fabulous train derailed on the first course or it crashed in the second round. The trail of disappointments follow an abysmal showing in 2006, the last time we featured in the group stage.
Our failed attempts in the CAF Champions League, however, does not mean we should quit. It is why we are back; back with hopes of faring better than previously. Long before the team shot into Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital, onboard a Ghana Airforce plane to finalise preparation for FC Nouadhibou, our Chief Executive Officer, Nana Yaw Amponsah explained the wisdom behind participating in Africa.
Ours is to “make a good case for financial support from government, which has through the Ministry for Youth and Sports allocated funds for clubs in Africa” said Nana Yaw Amponsah in an address to fans in Accra on October 5, 2020. Kotoko’s participation could help Ghana reclaim her lost slots in CAF club competitions, added the CEO.
Playing in Africa requires a formidable team. The “charm-like kind of team” we want to build means, Africa opportunities must be grabbed to enhance team building effort besides boosting chances of league title triumph to return to Africa. For a club bent on securing more corporate support, it is commercially prudent to be in Africa to advertise and bolster “brand association”.
All of the above make sense. However, our bane in Africa are been multifaceted; financial constraints, and without doubt, our grave misunderstanding that, consistently playing in Africa consolidates gathered experience so we must plan well and keep on trying. This is why we must do things differently in Africa this time, with the mindset of consolidating our gains over and over.
We expect a win over Nouadhibou. That is natural. But, if it does not happen, we should not despair. We should build on or correct whatever we achieve. Reports from our camp speaks of a team eager for excellent result. Gauging our players' mood from interviews, pictures and videos; we should fare well at the Cheikha Bodiya Stadium.
Coach Maxwell Konadu hopes to get “desired result”. Back home, fans have the same hope. Two matches in the Ghana Premier League have not given us what we wish but even our critics concede we improved in our second game. We look forward to similar or better improvement against Nouadhibou, who are considerably strong at home.
Anyway, we look at Nouadhibou; our improved defence, and the desire to see a compact midfield and a functional attack, only one thing is expected, which is, qualification to the next stage. The Porcupines should know this and deliver accordingly.