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Sports Features Tue, 31 Jan 2017

The Ghana Premier League has arrived on my desk once again

By El-Amisty Nobo

Like an Oasis in the harshest of desert, lovers of the Ghana Premier League [GPL] will finally have something to cheer about as the dogfight for who wins the 2016/2017 GPL takes off this Saturday, February 4.

If you’ve been busy with your eyes for the past three weeks due to the feisty nature of the ongoing African Cup of Nations [AFCON], don’t worry. Because this article will permeate through your subconscious ahead of the big kick off.

Put on your reading lenses now as I take you through the flip and clicks of the sixteen Premier League teams who are going to compete for the ultimate - trophy:

Asante Kotoko

The Porcupine Warriors are a club with something to prove having secured some of the best midfielders in the country during the off season, but having a great team is not solely dependent on a mere assembling of stars.

Asante Kotoko will go into this season with a new coach in the person of Zdravko Lugarusic. The Croat [Lugarusic] cannot be described as a minnow in Ghana football.

He has already managed two Ashanti Regional teams; King Faisal FC and AshantiGold SC so the supporters of the Porcupine club will not accept any excuse should he fail to win the trophy.

Hearts of Oak

Glorious Hearts of Oak had the title smiling to its secretariat last season until an off the field issues caused the dream of their vociferous supporters who purchased match tickets like hot kenkey on the street of Accra.

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The core of the Hearts team that trilled their fans in the season just gone by are still around, but the Phobians needs to do away with their persistent revolving door spin [changing of coaches at will], otherwise it’ll take decades before they could lay their hands on the Premier League trophy.

What Hearts of Oak need in their dugout is a charismatic and a combustible manager who can stamp his authority on the team as well as crafting a superb tactics which can win back the lost spirit of the club which has it foundation rooted on great organizational football.

Wa All Stars

Wa All Stars came into last season like the midnight thief and picked the Premier League title with ease to the surprise of many a football fan. Their success was spearheaded by their quiet, unassuming coach – Enos Adepa.

Coach Adepa’s team was a delight to watch and were tactically disciplined as well. The superiority of their goalkeeper Richard Ofori also contributed immensely to the success of the team.

The team [Wa All Stars] still have more than 96% of their players around and could be a sure bet going into the new season except that playing in Africa alongside the Ghana Premier League has its own challenges.

WAFA

The soccer physicians [West Africa Football Academy] as a call them made a huge impression last season, especially on matchday 1 when they defied all odds to beat Asante Kotoko 2-0 at their favourite Red Bull Arena in Sogakope.

Their squad was so rich that losing Samuel Tetteh, Gideon Mensah, and a few others did not alter their sumptuous soccer artistry.

One good identity of WAFA is that they are always far away from reaching the chequebook to buy players because they have talents in every department of the game. They may not be your bet to win the league though, but they may have a say in who becomes the ultimate winner.

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AshantiGold Sporting Club

The soccer miners used to be one of the most dominant force in Ghana football in the early 90’s where they won three titles on a row, but a change in the style of administration coupled with financial constraint has affected their course in recent years.

AshantiGold were not a bad side to watch last season despite finishing 11th on the log with 40 points except that they lacked the N’Golo Kante type of a midfielder who could provide the legs and unquantified energy in midfield.

Again, AshantiGold played the entire season with zero potent striker whose presence on the field alone could send defenders catching cold, but the good thing here is that they did not make a wholesale purchase, which means that the soccer miners will be very strong cohesively.

Aduana Stars

Aduana Stars lost the title to eventual winners [Wa All Stars] in the penultimate match of last season.

The former Champions League campaigners [Aduana Stars] always prepare on the quiet but have never failed to come to the party which means no one can write them off in the upcoming season.

Medeama Sporting Club

Medeama SC showed glimpses of winning the trophy in the first quarter of the season but a hangover from their Africa campaign caused their hopes of winning the Ghana Premier League.

Despite lots of challenges that engulfed Medeama SC last season, they were able to finish 4th on the league ladder with 46 points.

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Yes, Medeama SC have sold most of their key men going into the new season but they’ll surely be a danger to everyone they play.

Bechem United

Bechem United had a mixed feeling in the season just gone by having won the MTN FA Cup and finishing 7th in the Premier League, where Abednego Tetteh proved the reason why he should be counted among the best strikers on the local scene.

Bechem United may experience a very difficult season as they are going to combine Africa and the Ghana Premier League.

Besides that, Bechem United have lost their most potent striker [Abednego Tetteh] in recent years whose combination with Yaw Anorl was always dangerous to the opposing defence.

Berekum Chelsea

Berekum Chelsea have shown plenty of ambition since joining the Ghana Premier League except that the environment at their adopted venue [Golden City Park], lacks the atmosphere that could win points from the skies.

Their main aim going into the season will be to finish higher than last season’s 8th position with 40 points.

Ebusua Dwarfs

It has been a groundhog off season for the Mysterious Ebusua Dwarfs – losing Bright Lukeman to Hearts of Oak and another two equally good players, but trust Dwarfs not only to survive but flourish despite key losses in their set up.

Trying to use the Cape Coast Stadium as their home venue for the 2016/2017 season could have a negative effect on them greatly because that venue lacks the unseen characteristics that the famous Siwdo Park [The Robert Mensah Stadium] exudes.

Inter Allies & Liberty Professionals

Inter Allies and Liberty Professionals had to scratch their teeth very hard to beat the drop last season having secured 38 points each to beat Techiman City FC [37] and Hasaacas [36] to savor above the relegation basket.

The question here is, for how long will Inter Allies keep surviving the relegation scare?

New Entrants

Four clubs; Elmina Sharks, Great Olympics, Bolga All Stars, and Tema Youth whose entry came as a result of the disqualification of Dreams FC will also try their luck to see whether they can compete for the Ghana Premier League title or will be consumed by the turbulent waters of relegation.

I would like to sign off here for a cup of tea, but never blink an eye on me as I continue to preview and review all the matches throughout the season.

Follow Amisty on twitter @ElAmistyNobo

Email: elamistynobo1@yahoo.com

Source: Amisty