When fallen giants, Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko, clash at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday, it will unusually not be a chase for the league title but a battle of destiny against relegation, as their officials clutch to every available resource to ensure victory. 

News filtering in indicate that the Phobians have settled all outstanding salaries and bonuses and are poised to descend on the capital from their Akuse hideout for the? battle royale? on Sunday.

However, the Porcupine Warriors have tactically resorted to mind games as their main weapon to conquer their rivals as the two teams fight tooth and nail to remain afloat the turbulent relegation waters with just six games to end the First Capital Plus Premier League.

As part of the psychological warfare, some wild rumours are already flying around regarding the allegiance of match referee, Yaw Amepete, in an apparent bid to shift attention and capitalise on that on the match day.

For followers of Hearts-Kotoko encounters, all these form part of the sideshows which make such games the most attractive in Ghana football, the current poor form of the two sides notwithstanding.

Believe it or not, Hearts are languishing at a disappointing 14th position on the league log with 29 points and, therefore, need to win this game at all cost or sink further down. But Kotoko are not safe either as their 32 points will not be enough guarantee in case of a setback come Sunday.

That is why Coach David Duncan will storm Accra with a double agenda to seek revenge for a first round home defeat and worsen the plight of their hosts. And Kotoko have the edge over their opponents in terms of materials and history as they usually do better in Accra than in Kumasi and vice-versa.

Though the form guide does not often apply in such games, a Kotoko lineup featuring tested players such as Ahmed Toure, Frank Sarfo Gyamfi, Obed Owusu, Michael Akuffo, Jordan Opoku and Abeiku Ainooson still looks more formidable than Hearts? parade of Robin Gnagne, Philip Boampong, Isaac Oduro, Isaac Mensah, Gilbert Fiamenyo, Emmanuel Hayford, Sabahn Laryea, Eric Kumi, among others.

Interestingly, everything points to a repeat of their recent thrilling President?s Cup duel at the same venue on July 1, with the outcome being too close to call.

However, another deadlock will not be a favourable result for the Phobians especially, as their ?wild? city rivals Great Olympics could leapfrog them in case of an away win against Sekondi Hasaacas.

Ashantigold, who are in no mood to lose their grip at the top, are tipped to beat visiting Liberty Professionals at Obuasi, in the same way fellow title chasers, Berekum Chelsea, will dispose of Medeama at the Golden City park.

At Sogakope, WAFA will be too tough for Bechem United, while Inter-Allies and Heart of Lions might share honours at Tema.

At the Wa Park, rejuvenated New Edubiase can pick a point against All Stars, while Aduana Stars are expected to topple B.A. United in Sunyani.

Source: Graphic


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