It is certainly a dream come true what Aduana Stars have been looking forward to, after their aborted African Club Championship seven years ago and what a way to welcome their new challenge.
It was a great day to remember at Dormaa Ahenkro in the Brong Ahafo Region last Sunday as the new Ghana Premier League champions (GPL) Aduana Stars finally received their awards, prizes and medals for their effort in the 2016/2017 season.
The relatively young club deserves all the plaudits for the wonders they displayed not only to conquer their challengers in the 16-club league, but also for the fact that they have won it for the second time in a matter of seven years.
As tradition demanded, Aduana were supposed to play one top club on the coronation day, and they chose a regional rival Berekum Chelsea, and deservingly beat them 2 - 1 to grace the event. It was a crowning in royalty as all the players paraded before the teeming crowd and made the owner and financier of the club, Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyeman Badu II a proud recipient of the honour.
Observers have for a long time predicted something extraordinary would happen in Brong Ahafo, and that it would come in the forms of achievement in association football. And no wonder in 1961, Mr. S.W.
Yeboah, the then Member of Parliament (MP) for Sunyani and Regional Commissioner of Brong Ahafo, invited all the clubs in the area to form a nucleus of a club known as Brong Ahafo United and made sure they were registered as part of the national league. And in their very first appearance in the national competition they were third in the 1961-62 football season, after Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko.
Brong Ahafo United secured 39 points while Hearts the winners had 44 with Kotoko taking the second position with 43 points. A year later, there was an agitation to promote Brong Ahafo Stars to join the competition and they proved worthy of their motto: ‘Young but Ambitious’ in other words, “Nil Desperandum”.
Of course, the enthusiasm grew larger, and later another ambitious team, Bofoakwa Tano joined in the fray. That was the genesis of the great things to happen in that region in terms of football.
Today, they look solid with clubs such as Berekum Chelsea and Bechem United, beside Aduana Stars, and next season they are likely to be joined by Techiman Eleven Wonders.
It would be recalled that in 2010 when the GPL was enjoying good sponsorship, Aduana Stars sprang from nowhere to make history as they won the premiership in their first promotion into the competition.
Interestingly, that year, the high hopes of Ashantigold in winning the Premier League was given a rude shock in their final match when a 10-man Berekum Chelsea’s 90th minute lone goal against the miners at the Berekum Golden City Park, broke their backs.
With that, debutantes Aduana Stars were crowned after defeating fellow Brong Ahafo club Berekum Arsenals 1-0 at the Nana Agyeman Badu Park at Dormaa Ahenkro.
Incidentally, Aduana Stars who finished on the same 53 points with Ashgold won the competition on account of the head-to-head rule having beaten the miners in the second round at Dormaa Ahenkro. Aduana Stars thus made history as the first club to have been promoted to the premiership and winning the cup in their first attempt.
That day the Dormaa town went agog with fans giving their beloved players the kingly ride around town and showering them with all kinds of gifts.
It has not been easy this season right from the beginning where clubs in contention such as Hearts, Kotoko and West African Football Academy (WAFA), showed their strong determination to break through. WAFA in particular gave Aduana a lot of headache, and occasionally Hearts of Oak proved worthy as they came up to threaten the leadership. One of the strong combatants were Asante Kotoko who ended in the fifth position with WAFA taking the second, while Hearts and Wa All Stars placed third and fourth respectively.
No wonder, in appreciation for their great effort, the owner of the club has earmarked a land area where the players and the technical team could be encouraged to put up their personal structures and make there their homes in addition to other equally motivational gifts such as a 32-inch television each and a prize money of Gh¢100,000 to the entire team.
The King knows the battle has not ended, and that ahead of them is the African Champions League. Remember, no club in this country has won that diadem since the year 2000 when Hearts did it against Tunisia's Esperance FC.
Aduana’s Stars head coach, my good friend Yusif Abubakar, has dropped a hint that his club would tackle the assignment chest out, and prove to Africa that they have come of age.
Seven years ago, young Aduana Stars with little experience in the African terrain could make very little impact on the continent. Indeed, the coach has already observed that the CAF Champions League would need stronger forces to be able to conquer and for that the club would engage in fresh recruitment to beef up the team.
Of course, the return to Africa calls for better preparation and for that they would need stronger squad. The coach, however, insists they have spotted some good players and they are in talks with their bankroller to make funds available for their recruitment.
Aduana Stars have a lot to do now if they are to ensure that the assignment ahead would be tackled with all the confidence they can muster. Really all they need are dedicated stars who can sacrifice their all to conquer clubs from any part of the continent and with that extra determination, the dream can be achieved.