Polack denies bribery accusation after Kotoko penalty madness

Steve Polack of Asante Kotoko AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEIPIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images

Asante Kotoko head coach Steve Polack has dismissed the suggestion that he influenced the referee in Sunday's CAF Confederation Cup victory over CARA Brazzaville, which was notable for the awarding of five penalties during the 90 minutes.

The Ghanaian giants missed three spotkicks and their Congolese foe missed a fourth before Yakubu Mohammed stepped up in injury time to convert the game's fifth penalty to secure a 1-0 Preliminary Round victory.

After the match, Polack told KweséESPN about allegations that had been made that he influenced referee Issah Sy.

"First of all I look at their coach pointing at me as if I was the referee giving the penalties," Polack began. "I am not the referee.

"Secondly, don't say I bribe the referee because if we bribed the referee we wouldn't have played the game."

Sy awarded his first penalty in the sixth minute, but that was missed by Saddick Adams, after which Amos Frimpong and Baba Mahama both had their efforts saved by CARA stopper Chansel Massa from the spot.

CARA missed their chance to take the lead during the second half when Felix Annan saved one of the visitors' spotkicks, before substitute Yakubu finally converted the fifth penalty awarded during a manic contest.

"Penalties are like a lottery," Polack added. "The goalkeeper has nothing to lose but we should be doing better from the spot.

"We had the opportunity to take a big advantage and didn't."

Kotoko are back in continental competition for the first time in two years, but their struggles to see off their Congolese foe suggest that a third African title may be beyond them.

CARA, who are currently second in the Congolese top flight, host Kotoko in the return leg on February 21 at the Stade Alphonse Massamba Debat.

"We have been training on penalties and it's amazing how we lost them," Polack told journalists, "but don't forget penalty shoot-outs are like a lottery

"From where I was sitting, I didn't see all the penalties and five of them in a game, it's my first time.

"Yakubu Mohammed coming in later was strategic and I'm not surprised he is the toast of the fans, he has always been and others also think otherwise," Polack concluded. "He has a lot to offer.

"I'm confident we can qualify notwithstanding where we the match will be played, even if it's in England."