26 May 2019 12:46
With 18 goals in the Moroccan top flight, Botola, and eight in the Total CAF Confederation Cup, Kodjo Fo Doh Laba is having a season to remember. Three years ago, the Togolese forward made the headlines in Gabon, when on the books of US Bitam, he scored 15 goals and was adjudged the Best Foreign player in the Linafoot (Gabonese top flight league) in 2016.
In his third season with RS Berkane, Laba, who has 11 goals from 33 caps with the Togolese national team, has not fared any better than the current season.
“Work, nothing but work”, these are the words of Laba, when quizzed of his recent string of impressive performances.
“We have a group with quality players and there is a positive atmosphere. We (players) get on well and I have the chance to score thanks to my teammates who give me the right passes. However, the most important thing for me is the team. Individual performances come afterwards.”
A humbled lad who cut his teeth at Lome-based club Jeanne d'Arc in his native before joining Anges (Togolese first division club) between 2010 and 2012, the 27-year old has grown into a cult figure at Berkane, in their quest for a first ever continental title.
Berkane face Zamalek in the second leg of the final on Sunday in the Egyptian Mediterranean resort city of Alexandria. Incidentally, it was Laba’s last-gasp strike that decided the first leg last week in Berkane, his eight of the competition.
“If we are in the final, it is precisely to win the title. The key weapon of our team is harmony among the playing body. Another factor is the technical team and their direction which has seen us reach this far,” said the forward who idolises Spanish player Fernando Torres.
Talking of harmony and Laba cites the relationship with his West African teammates, Issoufou Dayo and Alain Traore as critical to the collective result of the Oranges, as Berkane are nicknamed.
“We are pals. We do everything together. They are my seniors and I listen to their advice.”
With a lone goal advantage from the first leg, Laba and his colleagues will be hoping to pull off one of the biggest surprises in a continental club final, by upsetting Zamalek to the title.
Last year, the club won the Coupe du Trone (Moroccan version of the FA Cup), the first ever major trophy in the history, and looking forward to add the second-tier title to climax their status as a rising force in African football.