Sports News of Mon, 9 Apr 20180

GPL Review: 10 things learned from matchday 5

Week five of the GPL gave us nothing short of excitement as the Elephants stepped on the Porcupine to tighten their grip on the top of the league table, Chelsea hit the Phobians for three and there was great football sold out to fans across all venues. Here are eight (8) things we learned from another exhilarating week of Premier League football.

Wa All Stars have it all to do

Ability to grind results is a recipe for success for any football club, something Wa All Stars are all too aware of, judging from the fact that they have won the Ghana Premier League before. This term, they have not been able to do so and their performance against Elmina Sharks sums up their season thus far. With four points from the first four games of the season, you would expect a positive response under their new coach Sarfo Castro who replaced Alhaji Mumni Sokpori.

But it was the same old Wa All Stars we have seen all season.

Their inability to retain possession and manage the game once again was on display at the Len Clay Stadium. To go ahead deep into stoppage time in the first half was exactly the tonic they desired before the second half. Instead, they turned up seemingly uninterested, careless in possession and duly relinquished their lead. One deficiency about the former champions, is about their fitness level, i.e. mental and physical. It was not only evident against the Sharks, they have exhibited such weaknesses all season and their manager nailed on it after the game.

“I’m short of words. We should have won this game but we didn’t because at some point in the match we failed to keep the ball,” Castro said.

“The endurance of the boys is not encouraging but we are still a work in progress so I hope we will improve by the time we play our next match,” he continued.

It is a great thing that the coach knows exactly what to do to get the Northern Blues back to their best.

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Paa Kwesi must get his charges to buy into his system ASAP

The dream of every coach is to get his players to understand exactly what he requires of them on the pitch. As it stands, Paa Kwesi has yet to do so. There is no visible improvement of Kotoko. You struggle to grasp the game plan by the former U-17 gaffer.

The team exhibits no cohesion and it looks like everyone is trying to make things happen and it’s not working. The lack of goals is as a result zero creativity; exactly the reason Steve Polack lost his job. They were disastrous against AshGold and deservedly got beaten. You don’t create chances, you don’t score. The earlier they fixed this problem, the better. In the last eight away games, the Porcupine Warriors have not managed a single clean sheet and a victory. The gradual retrogression is all too glaring and damning.

To get a solution, they brought in Fabin but what we see is the same old Kotoko for three seasons running.

The wait for an away point is over for the Sharks

Any point away from home irrespective of the opponent is a massive boon in the GPL. Going into the game against Wa All Stars, the Sharks had not picked a point on their travels this season; this tie at the Len Clay Stadium presented a great window of opportunity for the team from Elmina to fetch their first point(s) of the season, because it was on a neutral ground. And also because the home side are not in any good shape, picking a paltry four points from four games.

They had to fight really hard for a point after going behind late in the first half from a David Abagna’s goal. Their persistence, determination and hard work paid off when Samuel Arthur powered home an equalising header.

With a performance like that, especially in the second half, there is no reason for Sharks not to be adventurous in their travels because it is the only way to get a desired outcome.

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The Porcupine Warriors got a big boot by the Elephants

AshGold needed a victory to help their quest of winning the Premier League once again and they could not have picked a better time and opponent. Against Kotoko, not only the three points matter, pride and psychological victory mean so much more for everyone involved.

The Miners once again proved they mean to have a real hit at the title this season as, tactically, they were heads and shoulders above Kotoko. Still unbeaten after five games, they look the most prepared team with regards to desire, determination and strength in character.

CK Akonnor knows what he is about and his players have bought into his football philosophy. The 2-0 at the Len Clay is the Elephant’s fifth victory in seven games against Kotoko, but this is worth more than just three points as they maintain their momentum in supreme confidence.

WAFA’s reliance on home comforts

Any team worthy of lifting a league trophy must not only be impregnable on home soil, it must also strive for decent away results. WAFA, undoubtedly, play the best football in the division since gaining promotion into the top flight.

They are a candy to the eye especially in Sogakope largely due to their pitch. They try to replicate that on their travels as well which is a good thing. One thing they fail to acknowledge is that, playing the best football does not automatically win games. Out of Sogakope, they must learn to go a little bit out of their usual selves and learn to play ugly, not for anything, but for the results.

For a club of their footballing nous, one win in their last 12 travels is completely appalling (W1 D2 9L). A mixture of beautiful and pragmatic football is the way to go and doing the latter in away fixtures would really go a long way.

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Dismal Phobians dismantled

After their humiliating 3-1 defeat to AshGold, the rainbow club managed back-to-back wins against Dwarfs and Dreams FC. And they began to exhibit signs of improvement, but the game at the Golden City Park against The Blues was a completely different Hearts of Oak to what we’ve witnessed in the past two games.

Going into the game, the Phobian supporters were extremely confident that they would win because the home side has not had a good start, with only a point to show for in three games. In short, this was Chelsea’s worst start to a Premier League campaign since securingtop flight status in 2008/09.

The Phobians had goalkeeper Benjamin Mensah to thank for a decent score line as he repeatedly denied the guests from scoring more. It was a game to forget from a Hearts of Oak perspective as nothing worked for them, particularly in the second half, where they were run rugged. Hearts best player over the last two games, Patrick Razak, didn’t come to the party at all and one cannot fault him because the whole team had an off day.

Three goals unanswered (from Stephen Amankona, Brimah Mohammed and Collins Ameyaw) is actually the very first time since 2003 Hearts saw such a result. Knowing their woeful record at the Golden City Park, where they’d had just a victory in nine games, Hearts didn’t do themselves justice for turning up in such an atrocious and lacklustre manner. A well-deserved result for both clubs, particularly for the home side who needed the victory to turn their season around.

Inter Allies must work on discipline

Players’ ability to remain tactically disciplined and control their behaviour or emotions is a victory in itself for the team. In the last two games for Inter Allies, they have seen two expulsions. First to go off was their trusted goalie Kwame Baah against Aduana, a fact that contributed significantly to their 6-0 mauling at the Nana Agyemang Badu Park and the second, for skipper Hashmin Musah in their 1-0 victory against WAFA in Tema.

Indiscipline like this goes against the team and something must be done to curb it. Now, they go into their next games without two of their most important players and gaffer Kenechi Yasuhatshi must be fuming at the rate at which his players receive their marching orders.

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Liberty Professionals avoid mudslip

The scientific soccer lads could not have begun their season any worse. Picking one point from three games signalled doom and gloom; they were not only losing games or failing to win points, but did so in a manner which exemplifies a club destined for the drop.

Winning their first point against Medeama the other day seems to have done something for their confidence as they went on to beat Eleven Wonders 2-0 on Sunday. They played the game the way we have known Liberty to do over the years; calm, clinical in front of goal and they used the ball very wisely.

They ought to build on from the last two games, fine tune and realize the potential danger lurking around the next few fixtures. It is the only way to avoid the drop come week 30.

Just a point separates them and eighth placed Karela FC and it is going to be a knife fight in a telephone booth. That’s for sure!

Medeama vs. Aduana Stars was postponed because the Fire Boys had a continental date with Madagascan side Fosa Juniors where they won 6-1 at the Nana Agyemang Badu Park.

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