The Miners will return to Africa after 5 years of absence. They last played in a continental game in 2011 when they faced Etoile du Sahel in the CAF Confederations, but lost 4-2 on aggregate. However, they last played in the CAF Champions League in 2008.
Ashgold face M.O Bejaia test on Valentine ’s Day
The Ghana Champions will begin their CAF Champions League campaign in a home game against their Algerian counterparts.
The M.O Bejaia are playing their first game against a Ghanaian side, while this will be the second time Ashgold will face a side from Algeria.
The CEO Executive Officer for Ashgold Kudjoe Fianoo, following his side’s defeat to Medeama in the FA Super Cup admitted that they have a long way to go as they face Bejaia on Sunday.
“We (Ashgold) have a long way to go ahead of our CAF Champions League. I think we didn’t play to our best against Medeama, although we have our reservations.
“Our poor performance could be that the players didn’t play to the instructions of the coach. We have about 5 days before we play the Champions League game, so we need to double our effort,” he said.
However, the head coach of Ashanti Gold FC, Bashiru Hayford is optimistic the Miners will edge the Algerian side, because he has developed a master plan to disorient their play and get the desired results, after analyzing clips of their previous matches.
“I have had the benefit to watch videos of their games and I realised most of their goals were scored from headers. They operate most often from the wings and take advantage of their height to score from headers.
“They are very strong, so our defenders also need to match them in the air and also be a bit physical. At the same time any time we attack them by using air balls, they will clear such balls and they won’t cause any threat upfront, so we will put them down and in situations whereby they get all the air balls from the 18-yard box, we would have to shoot from behind to catch them unaware,” he said.
M.O Bejaia arrived in Ghana on Friday ahead of their clash against Ashgold on Sunday in Obuasi.
Team news and form
Ashgold prior to this herculean task have had it difficult to find the balance in their team and have been getting poor results in the pre-season, despite replacing Yakubu Mohammed their top scorer last seasion who left abroad with an equally good striker in Nuhu Fuseini. The issue for the Ghana champions has been goal scoring.
The Miners have struggled to get positive results in the pre-season, losing out on the G6 trophy, losing the SWAG Cup to Kotoko and the Super Cup to Medeama.
The Ghana Premier League has been on break since September, 2015 due to litigation, however the green light has been given for its commencement on Sunday 20 February, 2016, so Ashgold haven’t had enough test as compared to the M.O Bejaia who have been playing in the Algerian league which is ongoing.
Ashgold’s best feat in Africa was 1997 when they lost on penalties to Raja Casablanca in the final of the maiden CAF Champions League.
M.O Bejaia are currently flying high in domestic football, lying 3 on the league log, after 20 games in the 16-club Algerian league topflight league, despite starting the season on a difficult note.
They are unbeaten in the last three games in the Algerian league, winning 2 and drawing 1.
Ashgold should be cautious because El Eulma of Algeria who were even struggling in their domestic competition and got relegated by the close of last season managed to beat the Ghana champions at the time Asante Kotoko in Kumasi in 2015.
Bejaia have no pedigree in African club football, but they can take a clue from the performance of El Eulma, who were also inexperienced in continental football, but progressed to the group stage of the CAF Champions League.
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: