The Ghana Premier League season has ended with Hearts of Oak emerging as the winners of the domestic league while rivals Asante placed second.
The two giants had the FA Cup to determine their fate in African football although the league champions enter the Caf Champions League after lifting the Ghana Premier League but Kotoko needed to win the second domestic title to play in the Caf Confederation Cup.
However, their hopes of lifting the FA Cup came to end on Sunday after falling to Berekum Chelsea on penalties at the Obuasi Len Clay Stadium after 120’ minutes without separation.
Whereas Asante Kotoko have ended their 2020/2021 season without a trophy, Hearts are on the verge of winning a double after a hard fought 1-0 victory over Elmina Sharks to set FA Cup semifinal clash with Medeama at the Cape Coast Stadium.
Hearts of Oak have already started their next season’s activities despite having few games before their season finally ends and Kotoko who ended their 2019/2020 campaign yesterday have also started their plans for next term.
One area of their activities is transfers and both Kotoko and Hearts have crush on some players ahead of next season. The Ghana Premier League winners have been linked with Gladson Awako, Kwame Peprah, Enock Esubonteng, Prince Opoku-Agyemang and recently Moro Salifu.
Kotoko who are understood to strengthen their squad for next season despite failure to obtain continental football have been linked with Awako, Kwame Peprah and Moro Salifu as well.
Hearts of Oak whose transfers are primarily motivated by participation in next season’s Caf Champions League are leading the race for Awako and Moro Salifu according to our previous articles.
- See Hearts close in on Gladson Awako whiles not missing out on Hearts contact Bechem United for Moro Salifu.
The Ghana Premier League champions are reportedly close to having a breakthrough in deal for Awako as Kotoko set to miss out on the Great Olympics forward. The Kumasi based have not make any approach to hijack Hearts’ move for the Great Olympics captain.
And that is a reasonable thing for Asante Kotoko to do as there are other players in the Ghana Premier League that the Reds can sign to replace the loss of Awako to Hearts, thus when should the champions eventually complete Awako’s transfer.
Even for Kotoko they already have a man (Fabio Gama) like Gladson Awako but they can’t afford to lose this Ghana Premier League top midfielder Moro Salifu to their rivals.
Salifu is arguably the best defensive midfielder in the Ghana Premier League. He played over 20 league matches and scored 7 goals in the just ended league season.
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Hearts are currently on the negotiation table with Bechem United to agree a deal for the Ghanaian International. Should Hearts succeed in Salifu’s move, he can turn the champions into strong contenders for next term’s African Champions League and the Ghana league.
And potentially make Hearts of Oak immune to El Clásico defeat which could in turn dent Kotoko’s success in the biggest game of Ghana’s local football calendar. The Kumasi based side must launch lucrative offer to beat Hearts of Oak to the signing of the strong midfielder.
Bechem United could demand around Ghc1.2billion for Salifu where Hearts are reportedly only looking forward for a cut price deal and this will give Kotoko a huge advantage where the Warriors must outbid Hearts of Oak in proceedings.
The Bechem man would be suitable for each of the two giants but he is more needed at Kotoko since Hearts have equal men for the defensive role, Caleb Amankwa and Benjamin Afutu.
The second placed have a strong midfield setup of Latif Anabila, Emmanuel Keyekeh, Mudasiru Salifu, Kwame Adom Frimpong and Emmanuel Sarkodie but these stars lack the real defensive qualities- perfect physical presence, power, tackling, ball-winning, zonal marking and running with the ball.
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Moro Salifu is well developed in these areas as Keyekeh, Mudasiru, Adom Frimpong seem more box-to-box midfielders and Anabila is attacking man whiles Sarkodie seems more of deep-lying playmaker.
Moro Salifu can solve major part of Kotoko’s problems in African club football and this could be one of the reasons Hearts want him.
The Ghanaian International can be better than Al Ahly’s Aliou Dieng who currently is the best defensive midfielder in African club football. Salifu adds running with the ball into final third, link up plays and final pass which Dieng is not well good at the moment.
If Kotoko fail on Salifu’s signature, they have missed out on their best defensive midfielder for decades although Justice Blay is another perfect man they can look up to but the Medeama man who was on loan at Kotoko for 2018/19 season is injured and no one knows his return.
A loss of Salifu to Hearts of Oak in particular will hand troubles in Ghana’s El Clásico and continue to struggles in Caf Champions League and Confederation Cup unless the Reds find a similar one but not in the Ghana Premier League because Salifu is perhaps the best defensive midfielder in the league.
Asante Kotoko must launch a battle with Hearts of Oak to lure the Bechem United midfielder to the Baba Yara Stadium next season.
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