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Soccer News Wed, 7 Apr 2004

Hearts set to pay back Aviacao in their own coin

Accra, April 7, GNA - Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club will on Sunday have the opportunity to pay back AS Aviacao of Angola in their own coin when they come face to face in their battle in the first leg of the CAF Champions League match at the Accra Sports Stadium.

For Hearts to dub the match as "Revenge II" shows an indication of the level of seriousness they are attaching to the match, especially when the Angolans accounted for their exit in the 2003 edition of the competition. The 3-0 defeat suffered at the hands of the Angolans in the first leg remains fresh in the minds of the Phobians, hence they see Sunday's clash as a time to teach them a soccer lesson to enable them qualify to the next stage at the expense of their foes.

The confidence gathered by the Phobians stems from their recent performances, especially when they discovered their scoring form to score against T.P. Mazembe in an international friendly last Sunday by whipping them 4-0.

Hearts after dislodging the threat of Stade d' Malien of Mali, did not relax in their quest for success as they plunged into an intensive training in a bid to go past their next opponents.

The presence of German Coach, Ernst Middendorp on the Hearts bench seems to be changing the club's fortunes as he seems to have injected a high sense of discipline that now prevails in the team coupled with the level of seriousness that the players have of late attached to their game pattern. If the performance put up by the team last Sunday against the Congolese is anything to go by, then the Angolans might be in a for real massacre.

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For the past weeks, the German has been building his defensive system around tried and tested guys like Amankwah Mireku, Dan Quaye, Kwabena Boafo and Dan Coleman who on most occasions have proven equal to the task, though the midfield remains a headache as the combination of Francis Bossman and Adjah Tetteh have not been very solid with their performance being on the average level.

The real battle would be at the front where the attacking machinery of Lawrence Adjei, Don Bortey, Emmanuel Osei Kuffour, Abdul Samed and Ablade Morgan have been victims of near misses and taking of chances of set pieces in their latest games to score the needed goals.

The German coach last week however developed an antidote to check the canker when he converted Louis Agyemang from a defender into a striker and this conversion yielded the desired results, hence it is the wish of the vociferous supporters for a repetition of such a similar performance on the part of the youngster to ensure that they gleefully laugh home after the game.

The desire of the supporters is for a repeat performance because the youngster who was the architect of last Sunday's victory combined a lot of strength, skills zeal, and determination in the execution of his duty and ensuring victory for his team.

The opponents of Hearts on the other hand are on record to be good away performers. This is based on the fact that they got to this stage by beating Cimenterie of Congo 1-0 at their own back yard after being held to a one all drawn game in Luanda.

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Last year, the Angolans again defeated AS Villa of Uganda 2-0 in Uganda after holding them to 2-2 drawn game in Angola. This performance of Aviacao is by no doubt an indication that the visitors are capable of surprising Hearts.

It is therefore against this background that officials of Hearts have provided all the motivational incentives to the playing body to perform. GNA Sport gathered that the National Chapters Committee (NCC) of the club have proposed five million cedis for each goal scored while the management are once again making available instant winning bonus for the team.

All these promises and the presence of the expected partisan crowd at the Accra Sports Stadium are expected to put the Phobians on the winning path to advance to the next stage of the competition.

Kumasi Asante Kotoko, on the other hand will be facing their greatest task in the competition after having a walkover in the first round. The test is against no mean side but Asec Mimosa of Cote d Ivoire, who are well known to be old foes of the Fabulous club judging from the history behind the two sides.

Newly signed on coach Hans Kodric after incurring the displeasure of the fans in some of their recent friendly matches will also be confronted with the task of justifying the confidence reposed in him by recording a good result in far away Abidjan.

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Not only will Kodric be facing the task alone but this is also the time for Major(rtd) Yaw Larson to tell the numerous fans of the club and the Board of Directors he has what it takes to steer the affairs of the club to greater heights.

A critical look at the composition of the Kotoko set up however put them far ahead of their opponents even at their own back yard. This is because Kotoko have the finest reservoir of talents in the country at the moment who can be relied upon to chalk success for the team and the nation. The team has the likes of Aziz Ansah, Godfred Yeboah, Issah Ahmed, Micheal Asante, Steven Oduro, Micheal Osei, Chales Taylor, Yusif Chibsah and William Tierro and only requires a sound technical guidance to deliver the goods, though the Ivorians are also a good side and cannot be easily brushed aside.

It is the prayer of all Ghanaians that the two clubs will not only bring honour to their clubs but that the entire country, since with the Easter mood of the people so high, they will not accept any thing besides good wins to make them enjoy their holidays in happy memories and may the good side win.

Source: GNA