Key headaches for Ashgold ahead of Champions league return editor Godfred Akoto Boafo outlines problems for coach Bashir Hayford and his Ashgold team ahead of their Champions League journey

Ashgold coach Bashir Hayford cuts an angry specter on the touchlines on the best of days but  his looks seems to be getting darker by the day as his team struggles to find form ahead of their first Champions League appearance in 19 years.

His current mood is in stark contrast to the ebullient giant who danced and hugged his way to the league title in September and spoke of making a run to the Champions league final similar to what the club did in 1997. I doubt he will be making the same noises if he spoke again; such is the abysmal form of his team at the moment with six days to go before M.O Bejaia visits town.

The reasons are hydra headed and not easily solved.

First of all the late start of the league has deprived Hayford the needed match time to analyze his team and work on the weaknesses. The G6 tournament in January was the first competitive games for the champions since September and it showed as they struggled for cohesion and balance during the tournament. One of the sights of the tournament was Hayford berating his team  during a break in play for being outplayed by the second team of regional rivals, Kumasi Asante Kotoko.


Also worrying for Hayford is the slow adaptation of his new signings. New Edubiase frontman Fuseini Nuhu was signed to replace the goals of Yakubu Mohammed but he has looked far from qualified for the role. Nuhu is out of sync with his team mates and short of confidence; a combination Ashgold can ill afford at the moment. His twin brother Alhassan is barely making the first team.

The biggest problem for Hayford however is just how poorly his best players all seem to playing at the same time.Midfielder Emmanuel Osei Baffour lit up the league with his impudent attacking style last season but can barely muster a dribble this season and has looked disinterested for most part of games. Left back Joshua Tijani, one of the most reliable in the business is suddenly conceding space while player of the year and captain Eric Opoku seems leggy and out of shape.

Put all this together and it is easy to understand why Hayford is snarling at every journalist who comes his way. A meticulous man, his operation has been thrown out of order and he can see the coming storm.

Ashgold are swimming against the tide at the moment and only a miraculous upturn in form in the next 5 days will save them.


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