A draw away to Liberty Professionals on the 25th matchday of the ongoing Ghana Premier League season, secured by an 83rd-minute header by skipper Ismail Abdul Ganiyu, ensured Asante Kotoko remain unbeaten in the month of May.
Their lead atop the table remains intact, even if not as comfortable as it was before the long trip to Sogakope — archrivals Accra Hearts of Oak have pulled up into second place, just two points away, in what could shape up to be quite a title race — and Kotoko appear to be doing okay, but for one little thing.
You see, while Kotoko’s defence is still hardly porous, the team has conceded first in the last three games. It is a small chink in an otherwise solid armour that the West African Football Academy (WAFA) would want to exploit when they visit Kotoko, in Obuasi, next weekend.
WAFA, after a poor spell of considerable length, have won four of their last five games, and have been particularly impressive on the road. They’ve beaten two teams that rarely ever lose at home, Berekum Chelsea and Medeama, and that represents quite a change in fortunes for these traditionally poor travellers.
But while the Porcupine Warriors certainly have work to do in ironing out their defensive foibles — including getting goalkeeper Razak Abalora to let in fewer cheap goals, even if Barreto isn’t so keen on laying any blame at his door just yet, after the latest gaffe — they haven’t had to worry so much about the frequency with which goals go in at the other end.
It didn’t look like a luxury they would have after selling top-scorer Kwame Opoku halfway through the season, but Kotoko are actually getting goals from all over the pitch. Four players — Ganiyu (defender), Fabio Gama (midfielder), Emmanuel Gyamfi (winger), and Andy Francis Kumi (striker) — have scored three each in Barreto’s nine games thus far, with Michael Vinicius and Godfred Asiamah also chipping in with vital contributions.
The last three games between the two sides (all at WAFA’s home, incidentally) have ended in draws; expect Saturday’s to be just as closely fought.