Dolphins FC are next for Kotoko

By: Jerome Otchere

Posted: 8th April 2008

Asante Kotoko’s opponent in the next round of the Confederations Cup is another Nigerian side, Dolphins FC.

Kotoko eliminated Wikki Tourists from the northern Nigerian state of Bauchi on a 6-3 aggregate after drawing 2-2 away and winning 4-1 in Kumasi last Sunday.

Dolphins FC, formerly called Eagle Cement, also qualified at the expense of Senegal’s Casa Zinguichor following their 2-1 victory at home over the weekend. The first leg match between the two sides in Senegal ended goalless.

Background checks made by the Kotoko Express on Monday showed that Dolphins FC are at the moment not in the elite division of the Nigerian football league.

They were relegated last season despite putting up an excellent performance to win the Nigerian FA Cup.

The club which is based in Port Harcourt was founded in 1988. They play their home games at the Liberation Stadium which has a capacity of 25,000 seats but they decided to honour this year’s Confederation Cup matches at U. J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar.

Dolphins FC’s home colour is blue. In 2004-2005 they placed 6th in the Nigerian Premier League and represented their country in the 2005 CAF Confederation Cup. They reached the finals but lost to Morocco's FAR Rabat.

For the records, they have won the Nigerian Premier League on two occasions (1997 and 2004). They have won the Nigerian FA Cup four times (2002, 2004, 2006 and 2007).

Apart from being finalists in the 2005 CAF Confederation Cup, they have made a total of three appearances in the Confederation Cup and two appearances in the Champions League where they got to the group stage in 1998 but managed only a second round place in 2005.

They once participated in the CAF Cup Winners' Cup before that competition was merged with the CAF Cup to become the Confederations Cup.

Dolphins FC is coached by Lawrence Akpokona and Kotoko Express found out that just like Wikki Tourists, their management recruited a couple of players to strengthen their team. The club’s Media Officer China Acheru told the Nigerian media recently that “the new players were signed for another purpose, apart from the continental competition.

“We have signed some new players we believe will help us in our promotion race as well as the Confederation Cup,” he said.

He named the new players as Emma Egbeta from Bayelsa United, Momodu Mutairu who has returned to Nigeria after playing abroad for years. The others are Ndidi Marvin and Daddy Morris.

According to the club’s spokesman, Mutairu, who once played in the J-League was signed on because of the wealth of experience the club hopes he would bring to the team.

From the information given, it is obvious that the Nigerian club comes nowhere near Kotoko when talking about the pedigree of both clubs. Whereas Dolphins FC are in Nigeria’s Division One League, Kotoko is not only in Ghana’s Premier League but are also league leaders.

That fact cannot be contested but then on account of the fact that football often defies logic, it will serve Kotoko no good purposes if they underrate Dolphins FC.

Director of Operations, Jerry Asare, echoed this point in an interview with this paper on Monday. “We know we are playing Dolphins FC, a team in division one. We will not be deceived by anything. They could be dangerous and as such we will prepare adequately for them” he said.

Kotoko will play away to Dolphins FC on April 27, 2008.