Medeama take food, water to dodge 'dirty tricks'
Ghana's CAF Confederation Cup Challengers Medeama are planning on steering clear of Moroccan food, such as that seen here in Rabat on January 25, 2011 - by Abdelhak Senna
The Ghanaians were surprisingly convincing 3-0 first leg winners at home last weekend in a first round qualifier against the 2011 title-holders Moghreb Fes.
And they clash again Saturday in northern Morocco with a last-16 place in the second-tier African club championship at stake.
"We know all the tricks that teams employ to make sure they win," Medeama official Ebenezer Aidoo told a Ghanaian radio interviewer.
"Our plans include taking food and water to Morocco and finding good lodgings in Fes so that our players are comfortable."
'Dirty tricks' remain part of African football despite repeated attempts by continental football body CAF to eradicate the practice.
Arriving many hours late at an airport to collect a visiting team is among the favourite ploys of clubs desperate for a psychological advantage.
Other 'tricks' include hotel air conditioning, power and water being deliberately switched off, keys to training-ground entrances disappearing, and prostitutes harassing footballers.
Visiting clubs have also complained of poorly prepared food and unhygienic water making players ill, often on the eve of a fixture.
Nigerian sides Enyimba and Warri Wolves claim they were victims of bad treatment in Togo and Cameroon respectively this year ahead of CAF matches.
Fes were expected to prove tougher opponents in Ghana, given they are regular African campaigners and defeated Tunisians Club Africain to the win the Cup three years ago.
International debutants Medeama boast a perfect African record this year having tamed the Equatoguinean Panthers 2-0 and 2-1 in a preliminary tie.
Malik Akowuah, Kabiru Imoro and Kwame Boahene scored the goals that have left Moghreb needing three unanswered goals at home just to force a penalty shootout.
Ebusua Dwarfs, the other Ghanaian challengers, also have a good chance of advancing in a 10-year-old competition dominated by Tunisian (four titles) and Moroccan (three) clubs.
They travel to Angola with a 2-0 lead over Petro Atletico thanks to second-half goals from Beninese David Gomez and Ricky Mensah.
However, Petro overcame a similar handicap last month in the preliminaries, defeating Namibians African Stars 3-0 at home with Senegalese Ladji Keita bagging a brace.
Good away results by Nigerian contenders Warri Wolves and 2009 semi-finalists Bayelsa United have left them favourably positioned to progress.
Wolves have a 3-2 advantage over Cameroonian visitors Union Douala and Bayelsa host Kondzo after a 0-0 stalemate in Congo Brazzaville.
The other Congolese contenders, CARA, hold a 1-0 advantage over Tunisians Etoile Sahel in a showdown between two former African champions.
South Africa were limited to one entrant owing to a poor Confederation Cup record, and SuperSport should advance having built a 2-0 advantage over Kenyans AC Leopards.