Cape Coast would be set alight this weekend by action in the latest Ghana FA Cup final
Ibrahim Merigah was a part of the squad that won the Ghana FA Cup for second-tier Okwahu United thirty years ago and, on Sunday, he will be leading the Asaase Aban lads to another final of said competition against Ghana Premier League campaigners Bechem United at the newly built Cape Coast Stadium.
The stakes are pretty high — with the winners representing Ghana in next year’s Caf Confederation Cup and also taking home a GHC40,000 cash prize — as either finalist is poised to be the one to first breast the tape and bring a race that started with 118 teams across all four levels of Ghanaian club football to a full circle.
Holders Medeama failed to replicate the form that saw them beat the second most successful club in the history of the competition, Asante Kotoko, in last year’s final. Perhaps the constipated schedule continental club football offers ensured it was near impossible for the Tarkwa-based outfit to put their stronger foot forward in the games they played, thus culminating in their early exit.
Bechem had to fend off some fierce opposition from the likes of experienced Real Tamale United and Kotoko to earn their passage to this stage. Currently eighth on the league log, Bechem will have their gaze firmly fixed on winning their first ever FA Cup.
“For me the FA Cup competition is important and winning it would be historic for this club,” says head coach Manuel Zacharias.
“I am trying my best to finish the league in a good position but, for the FA Cup, everything I want is to win and I believe we can do it.”
As Kurt Okraku — chairman of the FA Cup Committee — promises, there’d be so much to thrill spectators.
“Ghanaians should look forward to the new match-ball and an exciting game all football fans deserve,” he told Starr Sports.
The contest will kick off amid fanfare at 6:30 pm after the National Women’s League Championship play-off.
Coach Merigah, mentioned at the outset, will have his full squad for the game, while his opposite number, Zacharias, has a slightly trickier situation on his hands. His reliable striker, Abednego Tetteh, who has found the back of the net a dozen times already in the league, has earned a late call-up to the Black Stars for a game that takes place barely 24 hours before the crunch final. On a positive note, though, the Portuguese would be able to call on Prince Siaw who appears to have recovered from a knock suffered in Bechem’s recent 3-1 victory over Accra Hearts of Oak.
BECHEM UNITED IX: Asempa Prince – Alfred Nelson, Akwasi Acheampong, Asante Agyeman, Eric Owusu – Hans Kowfie, Mensah Solomon, Hamza Mohammed, Osei Bonsu – Abednego Tetteh, Afriyie Francis
OKWAHU UNITED IX: Abass Mohammed – Alex Asante ,Tetteh Commey, Prince Siaw, Ernest Asare – Prince Bobby, Akoto Danso, Daniel Ocran, Mohammed Suleman – Emmanuel Goza, Kwame Frimpong