There have been diverse analyses on Aduana Stars’ elimination from the Caf Champions League, with many pointing to the club’s inexperience in continental football and the domestic league hiatus.
The Ogya Lads were on the verge of reaching the group stage for the first time after claiming a 1-0 win over E.S Setif of Algeria, but a 4-1 drubbing in the return leg dashed all hopes and pushed them to the lower Caf Confederation Cup. Not a bad thing for a team in quest of exposure.
They are starting off with a rather unknown opponent, Fosa Juniors, from Madagascar. The name doesn’t sound formidable and they have no pedigree in the competition.
The Ghanaian representatives are back to action in the local topflight which resumed last month and has been gaining traction. Their game form has apparently revved to a start and there should be no more excuse for lethargy, like during the Caf Champions League, when Aduana were the only team not active at home.
Winning the Caf Confederation Cup appears not to be part of their ambitions at the moment, but rather, coach Yussif Abubakar wants to take his charges through another learning curve from which the team could emerge stronger, in handling both local and continental challenges.
The campaign would involve more travelling, playing under different weather conditions, feeding on unfamiliar cuisine, attending to strangers who speak other languages and seeing perhaps bigger and more hostile crowds.
All those are part of the African Inter-club experience that newcomers battle with. Aduana have tasted a few and would have more in the Confederation Cup.
Abubakar and his troop need to convert their frustrations from the Caf Champions League into a new strength that could carry them through the fresh campaign they are embarking on on Sunday.