Kumasi Asante Kotoko are set for a return to the Bab Yara Sports Stadium after quite a long time away from home.

The Porcupine Warriors’ last outing at the stadium was back in February 16, 2020, when they played out a goalless draw with AshantiGold in the truncated 2019/20 season.

Since that encounter, Kotoko have been forced to play their home games away from the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, a move many feel was the rationale behind the team’s inability to win the 2020/21 Ghana Premier League title.

Kotoko missed out on the league title to fierce rivals, Accra Hearts of Oak, with just four points separating the two sides.
The stadium was closed down in February 2020 by the National Sports Authority in order for renovation works to be carried on at the venue.

The decision meant that the Kumasi-based side had to look elsewhere to host their home games – going ahead to pick the Accra Sports Stadium. They play two homes in Accra before the season was cut short and truncated due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the Baba Yara Sports Stadium unavailable for the 2020/21 season, Kotoko maintained the Accra Sports Stadium as their home venue. The club played the first round of last season in Accra while also playing their CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup games with Nouadhibou, Al-Hilal Omdurman and ES Setif at the same venue, before deciding to ditch it for the Len Clay Sports Stadium for the second round.

Having been moved from Kumasi, Kotoko played 22 home games across all competitions in total away from their original home ground. During that run, the club recorded 11 wins, five draws and were beaten on six occasions.

However, after 629 days since last kicking ball at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kotoko are set for a homecoming on Sunday.

Last second’s runners up will face Bechem United in a top of the table clash, following victories for both clubs on matchday of the 2021/22 season.

Interestingly, Kotoko’s first home game when they were asked to move away from the Baba Yara Sports Stadium was against Bechem, beating them convincingly with a 3-1 scoreline.

The Porcupine Warriors came from a goal down to beat Bechem United on February 28, 2020, at the Accra Sports Stadium, with away side on the day suffering a red card. Martin Antwi, Augustine Okrah and Ibrahim Imoro all scored for Kotoko while Hafiz Konkoni scored Bechem’s only goal with Charles Bosompem picking up the red card.

20 months later and some days later, the 24-time Ghana Premier League champions face the same opponent – this time, at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium.

Bechem will also come into the game at the back of a convincing win on matchday one of the new season. They thumped Medeama SC by four goals to nil to go top after the first game week.

Kotoko will be hoping to make a commanding return to their beloved home ground on Sunday, and they have history backing them in this fixture. The Porcupine Warriors have never lost a home game against Bechem United in the Premier League (temporary home grounds inclusive).

Prosper Narteh Ogum’s side has won seven of their nine home games against Bechem, while the other two have ended in draws. Kotoko have also kept four clean sheets in that time.

With a home coming on their hands, it will be interesting to see how the Porcupine Warriors will approach the game against Bechem, who recording a thumping 4-0 victory in their first game in the 2021/22 Premier League season.

Bechem will also come into the game at the back of a convincing win on matchday one of the new season. They thumped Medeama SC by four goals to nil to go top after the first game week.

Kotoko trained at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium on Thursday to have a feel of their home ground before the much anticipated return.

To even make it more beautiful, the club will have the opportunity of hearing the cheers and jeers from the home crowd once again.



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