The 2017 Ghana premier league season is only 2 matches old and I am glad to say that conversations about the GFA and its scandalous sponsorship arrangement with Star Times, issues about the quality of pitches, match centers, delay to the start of the season, among others appear to be receding, allowing for games and results to take center stage.
I am not suggesting that these issues have been laid to rest absolutely because the quality of our playing pitches will be a ringing theme throughout the season, that I am sure because most of the surfaces look regrettable.
After two match days, former champions Aduana Stars lead the table with a 100 percent record of two wins from two games, beating Ashanti Gold in Dormaa, and beating new boys Elmina Sharks 1-0, a result that thwarted plans to start their historic league campaign at home and in a new stadium with aplomb.
It may be early to say but Aduana Stars must win this season’s Ghana premier league title as the most prepared side all round. Their opening two games success may be matched by Tema Youth, WA All Stars, and Bechem United, who all play outstanding games due to Africa club commitments but Aduana Stars are favoured to continue their early season form.
The start to the season for Aduana Stars contrasts last season when they had to wait till match day 6 to win their first game.
Last season’s challenge of having to get 13 new players find form and become integral to the team was a major setback, so retaining up to 90 percent of that team for this season, following a late recovery that ensured they finished second to champions WA All Stars is a major boost.
With the exception of Yahya Mohammed, an assured goal source who left at the end of last season, Aduana Stars still have quality with Nathaniel Asamoah, formerly of Kotoko, Medeama, and Raja Casablanca leading the attack, with support from the experienced Tanko Mohammed, formerly of Great Olympics, Medeama SC, and Heart of Lions with Godfred Saka as captain and longtime goalkeeper Stephen Adams deputizing for the newly signed Joseph Addo from Asante Kotoko.
Yusif Abubakar replaced Cioaba Aristica who left to further his tactics in Europe through a Pro License coaching course. Abubakar’s experience with Hearts of Oak, Medeama, Berekum Chelsea, and Heart of Lions will be useful to winning his first premier league title.
Aduana Stars’ target winning only their second premier league title after making history by setting a world record for least productive champions with 19 goals in 30 matches, an average of 0.6333 goals per match, as they broke the all-time record set by Trabzonspor which won the Turkish Super Lig in 1979–80 with 25 goals in 30 matches, an average of 0.8333.
Club chairman Albert Commey accepts that Aduana Stars are favourite for this season’s GPL title and believes the support of owner and financier Nana Agyemang Badu the second, hard work, unity, staying focused and respecting their opponents throughout the season will do the trick.
By Ernest Koranteng
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