Aduana Stars resume their dreary campaign in the CAF Confederation Cup against Moroccan heavyweights, Raja Club Athletic, at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca today.
A dead rubber tie for the Dormaa Ahenkro team- who had their flickering ambitions of scaling the group stage hurdle dashed by a humbling 2-0 home loss at the hands of ASEC Mimosas last two weeks- the clash holds some significance to the chances of the Moroccans, who would cement their place in the quarter final with a win over the West African minnows.
Unnerving a fixture as it may seem for the Aduana faithful, with just 14 players making the trip to Morocco, and not securing a single point away from home thus far, the club would bait inspiration from a 3-3 drawn game with Raja at the Agyeman Badu Stadium in May, where they dominated most parts of the match against their North African counterparts.
Their lackluster form, coupled with the club’s fiscal turmoil regardless, the prospect of enhancing their status and a crave for respect on the continent could egg Aduana Stars on to exit with a swashbuckling performance. The Ogya Lads, undoubtedly armed with an all-to-gain-and-nothing-to-lose mindset could pose a danger to their relatively optimistic Raja opponents since such a mentality unshackles any pressures on the team, and could enable them to pull off the derring-do.
Victory over Aduana Stars might aid second placed Raja (currently on 8 points) overtake already qualified AS Vita (on 10 points) at the summit of the table- in the event that the Congolese club slip up in their match up against ASEC Mimosas. A defeat, coupled with a win for third placed ASEC (on 6 points) would however, see the Casablanca Green Eagles club crush out of the competition too.
In a bid to avoid torrid scenarios, and the distressing qualms associated with a team’s fate hanging on the consequences of another team’s showdown, it is easily predictable that Raja Casablanca coach, Juan Carlos Garrido, would pull out all the stops to diffuse any expectant upsets nursed by Coach Kenishi Yatsuhashi and his charges.
The Moroccan club head into this match on the back of a 6-0 thrashing of league side Chabab Rif Hoceima at home last Saturday. And with players Mahmoud Benhalib, Zakaria Hadraf, and Mouhssine Iajour all in top scoring form, an intimidatingly voluble crowd expected at the Stade Mohammed V would fancy their side getting the job done against the eliminated reigning Ghana league champions.
It is undebatable that all the odds are in Raja Casablanca’s favour, but it will not by any stretch of the imagination be a smooth ride for them; particularly against a very persistent Aduana Stars side.