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Sports Features of Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Source: Goal.com

Where ban on local football leaves Aduana Stars ahead of Confed Cup assignment

This is a complaint we have heard many times. The lamentations of how a Ghanaian club underperformed in Africa due to the lack of competitive local action just never go away. Sadly, it’s that point when Ghanaians get to clench blazing fists in anger, slouch terribly in frustration, put up sullen worried faces and listen to the depressing dirge one more time.

“The delay of the Ghana Premier League affected our team’s play, and this is not debatable,” Aduana Stars striker Nathaniel Asamoah told Otec FM after a grim 4-0 reversal to Algerian side ES Setif in the Caf Champions League first round, a result which ultimately sent the Fire Boys down to the Confederation Cup.

“Since we were not playing high-profile matches, it was always going to have adverse effects on us because the more you play competitive matches, the more you gain fitness and correct mistakes.”

It is for this reason that as Aduana prepare to welcome Congolese outfit AS Vita Club for a Confederation Cup group stage matchday three encounter on Wednesday, there’s boiling concern among Ghanaians. This is not a needless panicky cringe; it is genuinely portentous.

Aduana’s last competitive action rolled out on June 6 when they faced Ashanti Gold in a league fixture. That was the fateful day when renowned investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas thought that he had had enough of the ‘dirty’ Ghana football, released an explosive documentary that would hang all football matches in the air, and cast the scene into an overwhelming maelstrom.

And it wasn’t as though Aduana’s guns were blazing when football was around.

In the domestic league, a 2-1 defeat to Asante Kotoko and a 2-0 reversal to Ashanti Gold remain their last tests. In the Confederation Cup, a 1-0 opening day fall at Ivorian club Asec Mimosas and an insipid 3-3 home deadlock with Moroccan outfit Raja Casablanca leaves the Dormaa-based club rock-bottom of Group A. These results may have been ill and disappointing, but more of such tests, even if they still ended in defeats, would have proclaimed a more poignant tale on the team’s current strength and weaknesses.

That the man who was at the helm of affairs when they last competitively kicked a ball was fired and replaced only last week leaves a sour taste too.

Things do not bode well for the Fire Boys, but it’s not a totally hopeless situation. The task is not nearly as hard as the adventurous and ever-bubbly Akua Donkor winning Ghana’s presidential elections – if she ever gets to makes the homestretch.

Aduana will have to dig deep, far beyond their characteristic strength to kill this one. Perhaps, stretch beyond the allowed.

And if they ultimately win, just maybe, with some competitive tests prior, the score would have been slightly better, the job a tad easier and the play twice as nice.