The Premier League Board has confirmed in a statement that the Ghana Premier League is to go on a one month break. Opinions are divided on the decision by the organizers of league. Here, we sit on the fence and look at both sides of the coin.
DWINDLED INTEREST IN THE WAKE OF EUROPEAN LEAGUE COMMENCEMENT
The league was shaping up for a photo finish with as many as four teams (WAFA, Aduana, Hearts and Kotoko) having a mathematical chance of winning the league. The fact that the two biggest clubs in the land, with such a huge following were in contention for the league on the back of impressive forms, increased the interest in the league. Pulling a brake on the league at this very moment where the top European leagues are about to begin might just kill off any interest. The Ghana Premier League already lacks massive attention from Ghanaians when these leagues are in full flow meaning the break could afford everyone the luxury to fully concentrate on Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid and the other top clubs.
FINANCIAL BURDEN ON CLUBS
The clubs are already struggling financially with huge debts to fill. The TV sponsorship deal has earned them some money but their primary source of income has been gate proceeds during match days. How will clubs gain revenue in the absence of the league for this month? How will they pay their players. If clubs decide to keep players in camp during this duration, then the extra cost of accommodation and feeding will be borne by the clubs. If not and their players are to report for non-residential training, the players will have to commute to and fro on public transport. Do they have enough money? Are they going to be paid to get funds for transportation? A big headache but key questions for club administrators.
In the business end of the season, consistency and momentum will separate the champions from the contenders. These little details aside a bit of luck here and there go a long way in determining the best team in the competition. With five games to go, it was necessary all teams kept the players razor sharp for the decisive moments. Having this break will mean players who have been whipped into prime match fitness will lose their sharpness. Teams will have to start afresh and will have no reference to previous games in the league. In an ideal world, players stay at home for six weeks after a season and have intense pre-season. The hiatus could serve as a mini pre-season in a season at a point in the league where consistency and determination not ‘finding of feet’ is required. Enough of the gloomy side, the break will also serve us well…
KOTOKO WILL BE FULLY RECOVERED
The tragic incident which Kotoko encountered will never be forgotten. The pain of the loss of their deputy equipment officer is a permanent scar which everyone will have to deal with. However, it is important to help the survivors on the bus move on quickly from the unfortunate incident and get them to doing what they do best…and that is playing. The motivation to win matches and a bigger picture the league for the departed official will be a good case for Kotoko to play. Medical reports indicate the team will be fit and ready to play by August 6. The break affords the team time to recover as well as clear all outstanding games.
NO TEAM GAINS UNDUE ADVANTAGE
The scheduling of outstanding games most often than not serve as an advantage for clubs who have games pending. With this decision, all these outstanding games will be cleared for the last 5 games of the season to be played virtually at the same time. This move is much more important because 2 of the 4 clubs in the hunt for the title have games to clear. Any move of manipulation is immediately eradicated and a chance for simultaneous games to ensure fair play are greatly enhanced.
CHANCE FOR BLACK STARS “B” TO SHINE
The Black Stars ‘B’ failed to qualify for the last CHAN tournament after they were eliminated by Ivory Coast in the qualifiers. This is a tournament Ghana is yet to win despite being finalists twice. The team will have another shot at it beginning with the qualifier against Burkina Faso. The team will have ample time together to develop an understanding and build team cohesion ahead of the qualifier. There is no club commitment within this period and the coaches can fully implement their ideas to the team. Aside the CHAN qualifier, there is a WAFU tournament to be hosted in Ghana with the same team expected to represent the nation. Building of the core of the team is essential.
These are factors for and against the break, but don’t forget the outstanding games will be played as follows: Sunday July 30, 2017 - Ashantigold vrs WAFA in Obuasi. Sunday August 6, 2017 - Kumasi Asante Kotoko vrs Accra Hearts of Oak in Kumasi Wednesday August 23, 2017 - WAFA vrs Kumasi Asante Kotoko in Sogakope.