African stadiums were once again in turmoil last weekend. The various clubs competing in the CAF interclub competitions (Champions League and Confederation Cup) for the 2023-2024 season were waging a fierce battle, like a game of casino, for a place in the second preliminary round. Among the clubs taking part in these CAF interclubs were two from Togo. They are ASKO de Kara and ASCK. The former was competing in the Champions League, while the latter in the Confederation Cup.
Unable to win either at home or away, Togo's representatives played four matches in the first preliminary round of CAF club competitions for the 2023-2024 season, including one draw and three defeats, conceding ten goals and scoring just one. This is the sad record of Togo's two representatives in CAF interclub competitions. ASKO and ASCK showed they have nothing to be proud of against AS FAR of Morocco and AFAD of Côte d'Ivoire respectively.
In the CAF Champions League, ASKO stumbled 1-0 in the first leg against AS FAR of Morocco on Saturday August 19, 2023 at the Kégué stadium in Lomé. A week after their narrow defeat in the first leg, they were soundly beaten on Moroccan soil. The Kondona de la Kozah put in an insipid performance in Marrakech. They were surprised by the final score (7-0) of the second leg.The Moroccans from AS FAR didn't go into details. They led 4-0 at half-time before scoring three more goals in the second half. Togo's only representative in the Champions League thus leaves the competition with 8 goals conceded and none scored.
Togo's record in the CAF Confederation Cup was equally poor. Runners-up in the Togolese league, ASCK are logically their country's representatives in the CAF Confederation Cup. In the preliminary round, they faced AFAD of Côte d'Ivoire. ASCK, whose goal remained untouched until the return leg, were eliminated by the Ivorian team (2-1) on Saturday August 26, 2023 at the Yamoussoukro municipal stadium. In the first leg played in Lomé on August 19, 2023, nothing could be done. AFAD left Togo with a draw (0-0).
None of Togo's clubs are in the CAF interclub competition after the first preliminary round. All have already been eliminated. The competitions will continue without them.Another disappointment that has the public asking so many questions? But whose fault is it?
Who to point the finger at?
Many are pointing the finger at the directors of the two clubs, the players and the various recruitment teams who failed to take all the necessary steps to sign players who met the needs of both clubs before the start of the CAF interclub competitions. This would have enabled both teams to present a different face to their opponents: "Our representatives failed to recruit the right players to strengthen their teams. They haven't really recruited the players our clubs need for the African campaign. Instead, they've recruited players of the same level," says ASCK supporter Edmond Koffi.
For others, there was a lack of preparation on the part of ASKO and ASCK. They should have played high-level friendlies. As ASCK supporter Abdoul Ayissa testifies."Our clubs must also play their part, because the organization of friendly matches is not the Federation's responsibility. Last year, our clubs took advantage of the local team's international matches to prepare themselves better. The results were better. ASCK were eliminated in the second preliminary round, while ASKO reached the group stage for the first time.But this year, it's all about friendly matches with intermediate and low-level teams.The fault lies with the management, who, in my opinion, have done things badly".