Sports News of Sunday, 24 January 2021
Source: Happy 98.9FM
On this day January 24 1971 (Exactly 50 years ago today), Asante Kotoko became the first Ghanaian club to win the coveted African Champions’ Cup (now Champions League) with a well-executed 2:1 victory over T. P. Englebert (now T. P. Mazembe) of Congo DR in the 1970 final second leg match played in Kinshasa.
The victory over the Congolese clearly solved the four- year- old ‘dispute’ between the two clubs, all their previous three encounters having ended in drawn games.
It was a spirited performance put up by Asante Kotoko in this battle of equals at the giant Tata Raphael Stadium.
They surprised the home team with an intelligent spell of attacks and good defensive work to beat them in their own pattern of play.
This entertaining classic which dashed Englebert’s hopes of winning the cup for good saw centre forward Abukari Gariba put Kotoko into the lead in the 12th minute.
Left-winger Tshinabu put Englebert on equal terms ten minutes later.
It was at this stage that both sides showed they could attack as well as defend with a purpose.
However, the difference between the sides was Robert Mensah who was at his best.
The Cape Coast-born international and ‘wizard’ goalkeeper stood between Englebert and victory.
He made fantastic saves that gave the impression that he might have some magnetism in him that attracts the ball.
After surviving the magnificent onslaught by the home team, Malik who was not at his best, connected home a low grounder ten minutes to time to give Kotoko a confident 2:1 lead.
It was a typical Malik Jabir drive and Kazadi could do very little about it.
Just as Kotoko was beginning to celebrate their victory, the referee awarded a penalty against them. Sportingly, Kotoko did not raise a finger and left-winger Tshinabu, perhaps scared by Mensah’s wizardly in the post, gave an almighty shot which sailed “MILES OVER THE BAR”.
Asante Kotoko Line-up: Robert Mensah, Ben Kusi, Oliver Acquah, Clifford Odame, Ohene Brenya, Ibrahim Sunday(C), Sule Musah /Albert Essuman, Yaw Sam, Abukari Gariba, Malik Jabir, Osumanu Orlando.
T. P. Englebert Line-up: Kazadi, Ngoye, Ukomba, Mukambo, Kalumba, Nguanga, Saidi, Kapata, Kalala, Kalonzo, Tshinabu.
Note: The final was played in January 1971, but it was 1970 Africa Champions’ Cup final and, therefore, in the record books Kotoko are the Champions of 1970.