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2016/17 GHPL FIRST ROUND BEST XI: In-form Abbey, skillful Cobbinah and masterful Waja lead pack for team of the first round

Published on: 16 May 2017

Hearts of Oak duo, Thomas Abbey and Winful Cobbinah put up a scintillating performance in the first round of the league to keep their side ending the round with a seven matches unbeaten record while WAFA, sitting on top of the table have been inspired by the leadership and experience of midfield maestro Gideon Waja.

In-form Liberty Professionals skipper Samuel Sarfo and rocky WAFA  defender Musah Nuhu  take charge of the defence while Majeed Ashmeru and Winful Cobbinah lick around the midfield with the mercurial Gideon Waja while the attack is led by top scorer Nicholas Gyan of Dwarfs.

WAFA trainer Klaus Rasmussen emerged the coach of the first round while 4:1:4:1 was chosen as the system for the round.

  1. Razak Abalora (GK) – WAFA: The cat-like goalkeeper showed a lot of maturity and experience to guide the academy side to the top of the table. He conceded 9 goals in 15 matches, the second least number of goals conceded by a club in the first round. He kept 7 clean sheets and his output earned him a call up into the Black Stars ‘B’ side. Razak is lauded by many coaches for his high sense of intelligence in initiating attacks. His long kicks this season resulted in three of the goals scored by WAFA in the first round. He is responsible initiating a goal in their 4-0 win over Wa All Stars as well as in their 2-1 win over Elmina Sharks from sending long kicks to his attackers.
  2. Caleb Amankwah – WAFA: Caleb is another player who has ensured that WAFA have conceded 9 goals out of 15 matches in the first round. He is technically gifted and intelligent on and off the ball. ‘His technique is admirably unmatched,’ according to WAFA assistant coach Akakpo Patron. He made 15 appearances for the academy boys and by far the most consistent right back in the Ghana Premier League. He has one goal to his credit.
  3. Daniel Darkwah – Aduana Stars: Despite missing the opening two matches of the season, Darkwah picked up and commanded a starting role in the Aduana Stars set up until the end of the first round. Thus he made 13 appearances. The Black Stars ‘B’ left back provided one assist and scored one himself. Darkwah’s adaptation at the left back position has given the Ogya Boys dynamism in their defence as he is able to swiftly turn defence into attack in a counter attack play. His contribution at the back has ensured Aduana Stars are the lowest conceding side in the Premier League with just 8 goals in their net out of 15 matches. He has a goal to his name.
  4. Musah Nuhu – WAFA: Nuhu made 11 appearances for the Sogakope-based side and his contribution was hugely felt. He broke into the starting eleven of the side after match day 4 and has maintained his position in the team till date. He is one of the major reasons the Academy Boys are the second side in the league with a very strong defence. Conceding 9 goals in 15 matches for a side like WAFA is an impressive outing. Despite his total contribution to the side as a team player, Nuhu’s individual qualities of long and accurate passing as well as his agility and high sense of intelligence at the back are simply remarkable. His aggression always put fear in his opposing attackers and has provided a formidable shield in front of Razak Abalora, hence his ability to keep 7 clean sheets in 15 matches. He has grabbed two assists so far.
  5. Samuel Sarfo – Liberty Professionals: Despite his side struggling this season, Sarfo has been exceptional as a captain and as a defender. With 6 goals in 14 appearances as a defender, Sarfo’s achievement this season is hugely commendable. He is the highest scoring defender in the league and is 3rd on the goal king chart, closely following Nicholas Gyan and Thomas Abbey who have scored 7 and 8 respectively. He has two Man of the match awards to his credit. Sarfo’s aggression, skill and technique of ball distribution are unique. His aerial ball technique is simply fantastic. His hardwork has recently earned him a call up into the Black Stars ‘B’ side.
  6. Gideon Waja – WAFA: Waja has been the major inspiration for WAFA throughout bthe first round. His experience and maturity has guided the Academy Boys to the top of the table. With 15 appearances so far and 3 goals to his credit, Waja has marshalled the WAFA midfield with masterful skills. He is a master in passing the ball and leads his side like a wounded soldier. He has just one Man of the Match award to his credit and has earned a call up into the Black Stars ‘B’ side. He ended the first round with 3 assists.
  7. Benjamin Tweneboah – Elmina Sharks: For the first time playing in the Ghana Premier League, Tweneboah has been instrumental to the Elmina Sharks campaign. He has inspired his side to 11th on the table in their maiden season with his stupendous performance so far. With 15 appearances, Tweneboah has scored 4 goals, provided 4 assists and has won 4 Man of the Match awards. As a winger, his speed and take-on have made it difficult for defenders to handle him. His accurate crossing and great technique in passing are the reasons for his 4 assists so far. With his performance, earning a call up into the Black Stars ‘B’ looked automatic.
  8. Majeed Ashmeru – WAFA: Another WAFA midfielder who has been in tremendous form this season is Majeed Ashmeru. To many, he is responsible for the side’s explosive show this season. He is a great contributor to the 24 goals WAFA have scored so far with 6 great assists and 2 goals to his credit. He has merged Man of the Match on 3 occasions and scored what could be described as the goal of the season when he picked the ball from his own half, dribbled his marker, nutmegged David Abagna and wonderfully turned round the last defender before hitting the roof in their 4-0 massacre of Wa All Stars.
  9. Nicholas Gyan – Dwarfs: Ebusua Dwarfs are 8th on the table because Nicholas Gyan alone has scored 8 out of their 16 goals in the first round. He has been the main inspirational figure in the Dwarfs set up this far. His intelligence in front of goal makes him a good scorer and a perfect player. He emerged Man of the Match twice and assisted twice in the other 8 goals scored by his side. His leadership is a glaring definition of their wonderful show this season. He is a powerful goal scorer.
  10. Winful Cobinnah – Hearts: Even though Cobbinah became an active member of the Hearts set up after eight matches, he has meandered his way into the side with crafty display. He earned his first start of the season against Bechem United in a game Hearts won 4-2. He has just one Man of the Match award but his magnificent provision of assists to get his side score is amazing. He has provided 6 assists and scored twice, all free kicks. He is the life wire of the inspired Hearts side and his masterful display skill and technique is wonderful. He is a member of the Black Stars ‘B’ side due to his explosive performance in the first round.
  11. Thomas Abbey – Hearts: Leading the Hearts attack as a winger, Abbey has scored 7 goals and is second on the goal king chart behind Nicholas Gyan who has 8. He has only one Man of the Match award with two assists. Abbey a player who was nearly ditched by the Phobians last season has proved to be the most important player for their campaign this season. His versatility provides Coach Frank Nuttal with a variety of options whenever he is on the field of play. His brace against Liberty in the last game of the first round were just masterclass.

Substitutes:

  1. Felix Annan – Kotoko: Despite Kotoko’s disappointing campaign so far, Annan has been magnificent in post. Annan kept 7 clean sheets in 14 appearances for Kotoko in the first round. His defensive organization and accurate passing skills are admirable. He is the reason for Kotoko’s great defensive record in the first round. Kotoko is tied with WAFA as the second team with the least number of goals in their net.
  2. Adams Abdul Wahab – Aduana Stars: Strength and aggression are the major attributes of Wahab. He has been a major contributor to Aduana Stars’ campaign this season. His aggression at the back, tremendous aerial advantage and magnificent organizational qualities has made it possible for Aduana to be the side with the least number of goals in the first round. Aduana boast of the best defence so far with just 8 goals in their net. They are currently 2nd on the table behind WAFA.
  3. Moro Ibrahim – Bolga All Stars: As a debutant in the Ghana Premier League, Moro has shot himself in front with some brilliant plays for Bolga All Stars. He has won three Man of the Match awards and his earned a call up into the Black Stars ‘B’ due to his splendid performance. Perhaps, he is a replica of former Ghana star Isaac Asare. He is versatile and plays very well as a winger.
  4. Ahmed Toure – Bechem United: Toure has introduced his experience to the Bechem United side and is a major reason why they are 5th on the table. He has one Man of the Match award to his credit and has scored 6 times out of the entire 16 goals scored by Bechem United so far. He is an intelligent attacker and a veteran in the Premier League.
  5. Stephen Sarfo – Berekum Chelsea: With 6 goals to his credit, Sarfo has been the turning point of Berekum Chelsea this season. He has played 13 times for the Berekum-based side and has been influential to their campaign.
  6. Justice Blay Medeama SC: Another revelation of this season’s league. He has been very inspirational to Medeama’s campaign this season. He scored thrice in 15 appearances for his side and won one Man of the Match award.
  7. Joseph Paintsil - Tema Youth: Out of 14 appearances made this season, Paintsil won Man of the Match on three occasions. He scored 5 goals for his side and has been hugely instrumental to their campaign so far.

By: Sheikh Tophic Sienu @desheikh1 on twitter

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