Five Ghanaian players are on the verge of making history this weekend in the CAF Champions League as their club TP Mazembe take on Algeria side USM Algiers in the second leg of the final.
The five including Solomon Asante, Gladson Awako, Daniel Nii Adjei, Yaw Frimpong and Richard Kissi Boateng would have to help their side to defend their 2-1 first leg win or score more to be crowned champions of African club football.
These players were heavily criticised by many including myself when they decided to leave the Ghana Premier League for no other place than DR Congo. At that time i thought they were too good to move to a place that wasn’t too different from Ghana.
Solomon Asante, Gladson Awako and Richard Kissi Boateng were transferred from Berekum Chelsea after their impressive performance in the 2012 CAF Champions League. For the other two players – Daniel Nii Adjei and Yaw Frimpong – they left Kotoko for Mazembe after a successful Ghana premier league season in 2012.
But it has turned out to be great as they are closing in on an African medal which has eluded most of our great players.
Even though USM Alger coach Miloud Hamdi said before his team's home fixture against Mazembe in the first leg that they were capable of winning away from home, there is little to suggest that they will become the fourth Algerian team to lift the trophy, thereby earning the right to represent Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup later this year in Japan.
Since the competition started in 1965, the club, which started campaigning as TP Englebert, has played 77 matches at home.
Of those, the Lubumbashi-based team have won an astonishing 59, drawing 15 and losing just three.
The last time they lost at home was in 2009, when they were beaten 2-0 by Sudanese club Al Hilal in the semi-finals.
However, Les Corbeaux had already won the first leg 5-2 in Omdurman and were confident of advancing. Mazembe went on to win the competition, beating Nigerian club Heartland in the final.
USM, on the other hand, have not been the best travellers in this year's competition – winning just once outside of their country, though they did win both away games against Algerian opposition in the group phase.
However, that lone victory outside of Algeria came when it really mattered – in the semi-final at Al Hilal, when they won 2-1
Midfielder Daniel Nii Adjei has also warned his team-mates ahead of the second leg.
“It is not yet a done deal. We have won one but anything can happen in the second leg. They can come here to Lubumbashi and surprise us. We have to prepare well to beat them and win the cup.”
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