Hearts cannot leave Kumasi with victory, says Kotoko's Polack

Goal Ghana
Exclusive: The Porcupines manager says his charges are mentally prepared ahead of the Phobians' visit despite the unfortunate accident three weeks ago

Asante Kotoko head coach Steve Polack is optimistic of a victory against their nemesis Hearts of Oak in the Super Clash holding at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday.

The Ghana Premier League matchday 23 fixture was initially billed for July 18 but it was postponed after Kotoko suffered an accident in Nkawkaw on their way from a league match.

The Englishman admits he is under pressure to win the game, which he says is an added motivation because he thrives when under pressure.

"There's pressure on me to succeed ahead of the game against Hearts of Oak but I thrive under pressure so I don't mind. First of all, it is even an honour on my part for Kotoko to come and ask me to take up the job," Polack told Goal.

"I had to grab the opportunity with both hands, I couldn't say no to Kotoko because they're the biggest team in Ghana and one of the biggest in Africa.

"But on this game, Hearts must put in over 200 per cent efforts better than my team before they can pick positive results from Kumasi. I don't want to lose this game, never. If someone comes to my house and tries to take something, I'm going to react.

"If you check my history against Hearts in Kumasi, despite the fact that they are in good form recently I have better record. However that's yesterday and tomorrow's game is different so I will do my best to maintain it " he added.

Polack also rejected suggestions that his charges are not mentally fit for the game, adding that they will win to honour their departed technical team member Thomas Obeng Asare.

"We've gotten over the accident. The players are in high spirit and there is the desire and passion to win on Sunday so they are ready to go in the game. We have strong characters in my team and everyone knows that a game involving Kotoko and Hearts is a big one irrespective of the time or where it is being played.

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"It can be a friendly, cup game or league game but one thing is always at stake so we will play the game not the occasion. The players have vowed to win this particular game to honour Mr. Thomas who passed away after the accident."

He added: I cannot confirm that I will be on the bench due to my injury from the accident but I wish to be seen there. I will speak with the medical team today and maybe if they give good news, I will be on the bench. I am the kind of coach who enjoys the game just like the players. I am always kicking, heading and throwing the ball through gestures on the bench and always running up and down so I will have to know from them if it is okay for my injured leg."

Hearts sit third on log with 39 points, four points above Kotoko who are placed fifth.