Hearts are in trouble – Kotoko board member Lamine
Kotoko Board member Alhaji Abu Lamine is confident the champions will pile more misery on Hearts when the two sides clash in the biggest match of the season on Sunday.
The fixture dubbed the country’s version of the ‘El Classico’ is expected to attract thousands to the Baba Yara stadium while millions will watch on television across the African continent.
The defending champions are in top shape, having recovered from their opening difficult games to record two straight victories in the top-flight.
Hearts on the other hand is a club in crisis. The club has been hit with departures including the resignation of long-standing administrative manager Ashford Tetteh Oku while physical trainer W.O Tandoh has also parted ways with the 2000 African champions.
They lie 12th on the log sheet with a paltry 7 points from a possible 18 and their plight could be worsen with defeat in Kumasi.
Kotoko will move to second position on the table if they negotiate the tie against their sworn rivals.
Given that matches involving the two local giants do no follow form guide, the game at the Baba Yara stadium will be extremely uncompromising and nerve-racking.
Newly appointed Hearts trainer David Duncan has been presented with a tall mountain to climb and victory over the Porcupine Warriors will endear him to the club’s teeming and demanding supporters.
But Alhaji Lamine respects the Phobians but feels the fierce determination within the Kotoko squad will ensure the hosts are fully primed for the challenge.
“There is no turning back for our team and I can only say that Hearts are in serious trouble,” Lamine told Accra-based Oman FM
“We have a strong team and I believe there is no way Hearts can come to Kumasi and pick even a point.
“I know matches between the two sides do not follow form guide, but I know what I’m talking about.
“We are determined to maintain our winning run and we won’t allow Hearts to stop us.
“I am sorry but if they want to beat us to calm down their supporters, then they should look elsewhere.”
The last time Kotoko beat Hearts in a league game at the Baba Yara Stadium was in the 2005 season when they posted an emphatic 3 – 1 victory over their bitterest rivals in Ghana football.
Since then, the Phobians have won four of the five battles fought in Kumasi, and will be in confident mood of keeping that run going.
Sunday’s game in Kumasi will the 49th league encounter between the two sides in the Garden City since top-flight football started in Ghana in 1958 and promises to be one of the most keenly contested in recent times.
In the previous 48 played, Hearts hold a 20 – 17 winning record over Kotoko, with the two sides playing out 11 drawn games in the process.