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Sports News of Monday, 4 March 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Kotoko's Maxwell Baakoh out for 12 weeks

One of the revelations in the Asante Kotoko set up at the ongoing CAF Confederation Cup, Maxwell Baakoh, is out of the competition for next 12 weeks to six months.

Baakoh aggravated his knee injury last week in Zambia in the Kotoko's 1-3 loss and would have to watch the rest of matches from the bench.

Coach Charles Akonnor told a post match press conference in Kumasi on Sunday that in his stead he has to make some improvisation to keep the team afloat and confident for the last two matches against Al Hilal and Zesco.

The coach said he took another risk in place of skipper Amos Frimpong who was suspended ahead of the match.
Daniel Darkwah, who had not played for more than six months was chosen ahead of the rest.

"In football, you need to take risks and that was exactly what I did and it worked for me. I am very happy for that young man (Darkwah) for a great performance," coach Akonnor said.

Kotoko romped to a 3-0 win against Nkana FC at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday to move to the second spot on the league table.

It was the highest goal the team recorded at home during the competition.

Kotoko recovered from last week's 1-3 loss to the same side to bounce Kotoko back into contention for a slot in the quarterfinals on six point.

But they need a win at home to Sudanese side, Al Hilal, and at least, a draw, against ZESCO in Lusaka to guarantee a place among the big boys.

Kotoko turned on heat early in the game after Abdul Fatawu Safiu set the stadium agog with a fourth minute deceptive freekick to force goalkeeper Allan Chibwe to push the ball into his own net.

Indeed, by the 27th minute Kotoko had sealed victory with goals from Emmanuel Gyamfi and Martin Antwi making it two and three respectively in the 23rd and 27th minutes as the host team kept the visitors on backfoot for most of the time.

But winger Gyamfi could not make a return to the pitch after sustaining a foot injury in his tussle for the ball to score.

Arrowhead, Sogne Yacouba, seized the moment and capitalised on the Zambian side inability settle quickly to initiate more raids.
Twice before the quarter hour mark, Yacouba has hit the side net while setting up tantalizing opportunities for his teammates to finish off but they were all wasted.

But Kotoko never looked back as they pressed for more goals to make nonsense of last week's 1-3 loss to the same side.

Cheered on by an encouraging crowd, Kotoko simply played above themselves and more careful at the defense.

Coach Charles Akonnor's reshuffle at the rear appeared to have favoured him and inure to the benefit of the entire team.

He dropped his trusted back four with the exception of skipper Amos Frimpong who was not eligible to play.

In their stead, Adams Wahab, Abdul Ganiu, Daniel Darkwah Augustine Sefah appeared to solved the miscommunication at the rear which hitherto had worked against the team.

However, the Ghanaian representatives appeared too tired and weary at the start of the second half allowing the visitors to seize the midfield briefly and threatened a few moments.

But Kotoko despite being matched a few times never lost focus as they shrugged off reckless tackles by their opponents to grab the three points.