The MTN FA Cup trophy will have a new keeper, today, with impressive premier league side, Bechem United pitting strength against strong Division One side, Okwawu United, at the new Cape Coast Stadium.
Bechem United defied the artillery of Division One League (DOL) side, Wa Rockets, in a 2-0 semi final victory at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, to earn the right to vie for the trophy with Okwawu United, making their fifth appearance in the finals of this competition.
Okwawu, on the other hand, journeyed to the final at the expense of premier league side, Liberty Professionals via a penalty shootout, winning by a 4-2 scoreline, after holding the Dansoman-based premier league side to a 1-1 tie, at the end of regulation time.
For the records, Okwawu United have won the trophy, twice, conquering their opponents in the 1986 and 1994 editions during their glorious campaigns in the Ghanaian premiership.
However, they were beaten by their opponents, Ghapoha FC and Accra Hearts of Oak, in the 1997 and 2000 finals, respectively.
So, the Eastern regional team is in familiar terrain. Yet, since 2000, they had never been to the finals until they managed the semi final penalty shootout win over Liberty Professionals.
Should Okwawu United win, again, they would become champions for the third time. Yet, Bechem United’s Portuguese coach, Manuel Zacharias, would have none of that:
“My players are highly motivated to win this game …” said Zacharias, in a recent interview with the Graphic Sports.
Founded in 1966, Bechem United qualified to participate in the 2011-2012 Glo Premier league season for the first time after winning the 2011 Polytank DOL Zone 1.
However, they couldn’t withstand the heat from traditional giants, Kumasi Asante kotoko, Accra Hearts of Oak, and their ilk. As a result, they were relegated to the DOL for the 2012-2013 season.
Yet, their good form returned them to the elite 2013-2014 First Capital Plus premier league season, placing a respectable fifth at the end of last season.
This season, too, the Brong Ahafo club has made history, berthing in the finals of the MTN FA cup tournament for the first time, and their fans around the world are expecting them to take away the grand prize from Okwawu United.
Already, the Bechem club has taken a player and a coach away from their opponents for today’s clash. Bechem’s top goal poacher, Abednego Tetteh, joined Bechem United only last season from Okwawu United, raising the stakes in the potentially fierce encounter, with the chance to represent Ghana on the continent.
Tetteh struck three goals past Accra Hearts of Oak in a recent league match, to add to his tally, earning him a call-up to the senior national football team, the Black Stars.
Again, Bechem United’s assistant coach, Seth Osei Wire, is a former player of Okwawu United, being a member of the Mountaineers’ 1997 FA Cup losing finalist’s squad.
Well, does that make Bechem losers, given that, in current interim Okwawu coach, Ibrahim Meriga, Okwawu have a winner? Merigah’s form helped Okwawu win the FA Cup as a player in 1986.
Okwawu United faithfuls argue that though their former player, Tetteh is riding high with Bechem United, now, he has only scored once in the FA competition, whereas their club can boast of a better marksman in McClean Ampadu, who has bagged three goals in the competition.
Again, in Annor Walker, recently appointed Okwawu’s technical director, the Asaase Aban side has a proven winner, who guided another lower-tier side, Nania FC of Abedi Pele fame, to a sensational upset of overwhelming favourite, Asante Kotoko, in the 2011 FA Cup final.
Yet, the Portuguese tactician of the hottest club in Ghana, now, Manuel Zacharias, says he’s got the antidote to whatever challenge Okwawu United may present, tonight, and make history for his club and the people of Bechem.
Well,ekowasmahsports.com wonders how he plans on achieving that.
“… I could play 4-4-2, 4-1-4-1 or any other formation to win the game,” he bragged to Graphic Sports, last week.
Hmmm, so, what’s gonna happen? Would the venue have anything to do with it? Let’s check how the two sides have fared outside of their comfort zones in the FA competition.
While Bechem United have topped their competition in two of their FA Cup matches outside Bechem, Okwawu United can boast of only one win outside their Nkawkaw-base.
Besides, the Bechem United playing body are not short of motivation, having been promised 5, 000 cedis (approximately $1, 250) EACH, to lift the prestigious trophy. Great motivation!
Well, what about the psychological inspiration of Okwawu United who have claimed the scalp of three premier league sides in succession, to land in the final, managing a 5-4 penalty shootout win over Sekondi Hasaacas, notching a quarter final home-win over WAFA SC, and the semi-finals 4-2 penalty shootout victory over Liberty Professionals? Nothing short of outstanding!
Well, would that be the most important deciding factor? I don’t know, but I do know it will be an absolute party in the charged atmosphere for the vociferous fans of the two sides who would bear first-hand witness to the potential great game to cap a successful organization of the competition.
I can’t wait!
FILED BY: Ewli Elikem Justice.