By El-Amisty Nobo & Frederick Marfo
Glorious Hearts of Oak will make a triumphant entry into the Volta region on Sunday as they take on the West Africa Football Academy [WAFA] on matchday 17 of the Ghana Premier League at the Red Bull Arena in Sogakope.
The Phobians [Hearts of Oak] picked a 2-1 victory over the soccer physicians [WAFA] in the first leg, but their performance against Liberty Professionals at the Accra Sports Stadium last Sunday has suddenly raised an eyebrow as to whether they have the competence to stop the home invincibility of WAFA.
WAFA have not tasted a single defeat at the Red Bull Arena since their return into the Ghana Premier League, but information www.sports24ghana.com is gathering from the camp of Hearts is that the phobia boys are ready to break that enviable jinx come Sunday.
For Hearts of Oak to beat WAFA in Sogakope, coach Frank Nuttal would have to work around the clock to break the bonding in their midfield quartet – Majeed Ashimeru, Gideon Waja, Richmond Lamptey, and Caleb Amankwah.
Yes, the skillful ‘Pistolero’ – Majeed Ashimeru has proven to be the champ that runs the camp for the soccer physicians at the Red Bull Arena but trying to target a single player in this fixture will not help the course of Hearts of Oak because Coach Klaus Rasmussen has too many qualities at his disposal.
Again, and as a matter of necessity Hearts of Oak will also have to try and prevent WAFA from making too many incursion into their goal area which means Coach Nuttal would have to try and fizzle his squad going into this particular match. Having two defensive midfielders with great vision could be all but what Hearts may need to be able to neutralize WAFA in the danger zone.
Hearts of Oak despite their enormous history have been tagged as the underdogs but any team that writes off the Phobians does so at its own peril.
WAFA – Razak Abalora, Caleb Amankwah, Aminu Musah, Abubakar Ibrahim, Musa Nuhu, Richard Danso, Gideon Waja, Richard Lamptey, Majeed Ashimeru, Komlan Agbeniadan, Justice Amate Aaron.
Hearts of Oak – Samuel Akurugu, Fatau Mohammed, Kassenu Ghandy, Richard Akrofi, Vincent Atinga, Leonard Tawiah, Malik Akowah/Paul Acquah, Patrick Razak, Winful Cobbinah, Samuel Yeboah, Thomas Abbey.
At the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi, Asante Kotoko will welcome the Tom Strand led Great Olympics.
The Porcupine Warriors seem to have found back their winning form since Steven Polack took over as the head coach of the club, but he’ll have to be on top of his game as he comes up against another great tactician in the person of Tom Strand.
Tema Youth have an opportunity to redeem their lost image at the Tema Community 3 Park as they come up against Liberty Professionals. Both teams are hovering around the relegation zone which means that no one will leave anything to chance going into this match.
AshantiGold SC who have sworn thunder and earth to escape the relegation train will host mysterious Ebusua Dwarfs at the Len Clay Stadium in Obuasi.
The soccer miners had a very poor first round, but if their performance against Wa All Stars last weekend is anything to go by then trust AshantiGold to win this match.
Elmina Sharks will be seeking for redemption at the Nduom Sports Complex as they welcome Medeama Sporting Club. The Sharks were crushed by the Yellow and Mauves in the first leg played at the Tarkwa T&A Park.
Defending league champions, Wa All Stars will play as guest to Bechem United at the Nana Gyeabour Park whiles relegation threatened Bolga All Stars will also host Inter Allies at the Tamale Utrecht Park.
Meanwhile, Berekum Chelsea and Aduana Stars will lock horns at the Golden City Park this afternoon.
WAFA 2-1 Hearts of Oak
Asante Kotoko 3-1 Great Olympics
Tema Youth 1-0 Liberty Professionals
AshantiGold SC 2-0 Ebusua Dwarfs
Elmina Sharks 1-1 Medeama SC
Bechem United 1-0 Wa All Stars
Bolga All Stars 2-1 Inter Allies
Berekum Chelsea 1-0 Aduana Stars