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Palimpsest performance clubs can emulate to win the GPL

Gpl Logo The 65th season top professional football league in Ghana is set to start soon

Thu, 5 Nov 2020 Source: Kwesi Baffoe

The quintessence of the nation in terms of sports is football and it is here with us again, hurray. After three seasons of diluted football in Ghana due to the venality in our game which was brought to bear by Anas’ expose number twelve, shaking the foundations of football.

Also, the recent season (2019/20) which affianced to be blotting with ecstasy with the ambience in the stadia vehemently buzzing all over by fans cheering their teams on, only to be abrogated on match week fifteen by a malady called coronavirus, simply put, COVID-19. After the first case was recorded on 12th March 2020, it was prudent for the first gentleman of the land to announce and put restrictions on public gathering and contacts sports for precautionary reasons. Football was not an exception to that embargo and since 16th March 2020, competitive football has not taken place until the GFA announced that the Ghana Premier League 2020/21 will commence on 13th November 2020.

The 65th season top professional football league in Ghana is just some weeks to commence, with 18 clubs ready to battle it out for supremacy. This means total matches will be extended from 240 to 306 games. Is it not intriguing? In this article, we will look at what clubs can do to reminiscence what the previous champions did.

First of all, a team can win laurels if and only if they are consistent with their performance. Consistency is said to be when one behaves the same way or show the same attitude of doing things to achieve results. In football terms, consistency is mostly measured by the number of wins a team accumulates to get desired results. Below are winning streak clubs chucked which engendered in lifting the league since 2000.

Winning streak Hearts of Oak-2002: 14 wins from 7th April 2002 to 19th June 2002, i.e. match week 1 to match week 14.

Asante Kotoko-2003: 10 wins from 14th September 2003 to 7th December 2003, i.e. match week 21 to match week 30.

Hearts of Oak-2000: 8 wins from 30th April 2000 to 5th July 2000, i.e. match week 9 to match week 16. Berekum Chelsea-2010/11: 7 wins from 20th November 2010 to 16th January 2011, i.e. match week 12 to match week 18.

Asante Kotoko-2013/14: 6 wins from 15th September 2013 to 12th October 2013, i.e. match week 1 to match week 6.

Hearts of Oak-2001: 5 wins from 15th April 2001 to 10th May 2001, i.e. match week 1 to match week 5.

Asante Kotoko-2007/2008: 5 wins from 2nd December 2007 to 19th December 2007, i.e. match week 1 to match week 5.

Also, squad depth cannot be abnegated if a team wants to win the league. To compete and win trophies in every facet of football club, you will need squad depth. This is where a team will have at least one or two quality replacement(s) for every position abreast first eleven. The germane of squad depth is that the manager will have the luxury to rotate to keep his players fresh and ensure the best amalgamations are available for big games. Another important point is that players can be called upon when injuries smite. It also brings the best out of players since they would want to start every match. When we look at Hearts of Oak, they have made some decent signings to ameliorate their squad. Notable ones are Nuru Sulley, Abednego Tetteh, and the speed merchant, Patrick Razak who just returned from the Guinean side Horoya. For Asante Kotoko, they have always added up with the notable ones like Emmanuel Keyekeh, Latif Anabila, and the Brazilian Fabio Gama Dos Santos just to mention few. Below diagrams show how some teams squad depth would look like in the upcoming season.

Most talked about team that we cannot forget is Medeama, the mauve and yellow boys. Their brilliant start in the 2017/18 suffered at the mercy of Anas’ expose that caught some match officials who took bribe to sway results. As a result of that, the league was abrogated. As if that was not enough, the 2019/20 also got the best out of the 2013 and 2015 FA cup winners only to be bad luck by covid-19. Again, the league got truncated. With the 2020/21 underway, we are benighted about the squad depth they possess after adding the likes Kwadwo Asamoah, Abass Mohammed, and the return of Justice Blay, they will be stronger than the previous seasons.

Moreover, another factor that needs to be considered is resilience, luck and fine margins. Every championship team needs a little bit of luck to win trophies. In our part of the world, some may go for spiritual backing from all walks of life as they believe it is part of the component of winning trophies. Scientifically, when best players enjoy the injury-free season, it becomes serendipity to teams and mostly wins. Fine margins in football are when a team relishes what we call kismet of the day. Here, one team may try all the ways to score bit will be denied by the post, crossbar and even referees’ decisions at the detriment of the other either winning or drawing. Resilience on the hand is the way teams recover with celerity from their difficulties. Aduana Stars in the 2009/10 season had just two points out of their first three opening league games (Berekum Arsenal-Draw, Liberty-Draw, and RTU-Loss) but recovered and won the league. In 2005, Asante Kotoko lost their first match (2-1) against Beekum Arsenal but bounced back to win the league. The rainbow boys did same in 2006 after they had lost (1-0) to the same opponent and fortunately for them, they won as well.

Furthermore, game management is also a component which cannot be disregarded. This comes in when teams thread cautiously after they have had their moment in a game. As we have seen football from many years ago, it is not always auspicious to be scoring two to four goals every game. Sometimes after taking your moment(s), you need to shut up shop to get the maximum points. An example is Aduana Stars in 2009/10 season under the late Herbert Addo, who managed to win the league with 15 wins, 8 draws,7 defeats in the 30 round of matches. In those 15 wins, he managed to win one-nil (1-0) thirteen wins, then won (2-0) against RTU and (2-1) against Eleven Wise. This is what we call proper game management.

Lastly, the last factor to look out for is the final rounds of matches. As the saying goes, the end will justify the means. Sometimes it does not matter how you start but how you finish the season can guarantee you better position if not the acme of the league log. An example is the Asante Kotoko team in 2003 who won their last ten matches to win the league in a grand style, beaten Berekum Arsenal, Hearts of Lions, Mine Stars, Okawu United, Great Olympics, Stay Cool Professionals, B. A United, King Faisal, Goldfields and RTU.

Subsequently, some teams may be quiet but they cannot be left out in terms of challenging for the league title especially Aduana Stars and Berekum Chelsea who were first and second respectively on the just cancelled league. The dark horses may be Elmina Sharks who were forth and WAFA. Ashanti Gold is not getting a mention because of some six to seven key players who are not part of the team. Clubs who would want to win the GPL can emulate these factors outlined and become champions. All the best to the 18 clubs.

DID YOU KNOW?

The highest point by a club at the end of the season since 2000 is 78 points. It was done by Hearts of Oak in 2002.

The highest home point by a club at the end of the season since 2000 is 43 points. It was done by both Hearts of Oak (2001) and Asante Kotoko (2007/2008).

The highest away point by a club at the end of the season since 2000 is 36 points. It was done by Hearts of Oak in 2002.

The highest number of goals scored by a club at the end of the season since 2000 is 72 goals. It was done by Hearts of Oak in 2002.

The lowest number of goals conceded by a club at the end of the season since 2000 is 10 goals. It was done by Aduana Stars in 2009/10 season.

For the past five years, it was only WAFA who could not win the league after being on top after the first round. In 2015, Ash Gold was on top of the summit with 29 points in the first round and won the league with 52 points. In 2016, Wa All Stars were on top of the league with 28 points after the first round and won the league with 51 points. In 2017, WAFA had 32 points after staying on top in first round but came second with 51 points whiles Aduana Stars have crowned champions with 57 points.

Columnist: Kwesi Baffoe
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