The thrills and tension that have gripped clubs going into the last four matches of the Ghana Premier League, will be taken a notch higher when Kumasi Asante Kotoko welcome Aduana Stars in Sunyani on Sunday.
Whereas two title contenders – Berekum Chelsea and Medeama will seek to unseat Kotoko from the summit of the table, those in the bottom ranks will attempt to outrun each other in the increasingly hot fight to stay above the relegation neckline.
Thus the game in Sunyani and other venues will be closely followed by fans of the local Premier League. Kotoko’s game has been moved to the country’s cleanest city after the Ghana Football Association (GFA) announced earlier this week that it has closed the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, which was the centre of violent scenes when Kotoko hosted Medeama on May 8.
Two other centres – the Golden City Park and the Agyeman Badu Park at Berekum and Dormaa Ahenkro respectively have also been shut down.
While many Kotoko fans in Kumasi will be denied the opportunity of watching tomorrow’s game, because not all of them can travel to Sunyani, their Sunyani counterparts, needless to say, will enjoy to the fullest, given the fine performance the team displayed at the Golden City Park, where they hammered Berekum Arsenal 3-0. They are bound to improve on that.
Fans of Aduana Stars will however find it easy traveling to Sunyani from Dormaa Ahenkro – another Brong Ahafo Regional town to watch the week 27 fixture. Sunyani continues to provide Kotoko the tranquility and luck the team often needs especially in hard times.
Kotoko have usually turned to Sunyani for camping and trial matches so the team is familiar with the Coronation Park. Thus, much as the closure of the Baba Yara Sports Stadium may not excite the club, the move to Sunyani comes with a bit of good omen which the fabulous lads will be counting on to beat Aduana Stars to consolidate top position on the league log.
Kotoko drew at Dormaa Ahenkro in the first round tie in November 2012. While that result seemed favourable at that time, a draw tomorrow is not what Coach Mas-ud Didi Dramani and his player have targeted. They have their minds firmly fixed on a win, which they know will come but not without sweat.
After the 3-0 thrashing of relegation threatened, Berekum Arsenal, Coach Dramani declared that there would be no turning back for the Porcupines. He said they would fight hard to keep their number one spot. That aggressive fight is what teeming Kotoko fans in Sunyani and across the country expect against Aduana Stars.
Ahead of the Aduana Stars duel, some Kotoko fans have been appealing to Coach Dramani to stick to his winning team and not make alterations that could affect the club’s chances of winning the match. Others have been calling on the Porcupines to remain resolute in the face of stiff opposition while utilizing the numerous scoring chances they create.
There are those who in the face of the disturbing cases of hooliganism and vandalism have as well been urging fans to exhibit the best of behaviour at every league centre. The various calls, especially those relative to Coach Dramani’s seeming penchant for changing his line-ups and the rate at which the Porcupines squander glorious scoring chances, lay bare the fact that the fans simply want to see the team winning on Sunday in a bid to retain the league title.
The other commentaries or the need for supporters to behave well at league centres thankfully underscore the understanding some fans have that violence will mar the beauty of the game and as well destroy lives and property hence the need to eschew that. All this and more will come together to make the Kotoko-Aduana Stars and other league matches exciting.
By: Jerome Otchere
Security at the various league centres is expected to be reinforced ahead of Sunday’s Glo Premier League matches and the three other games that will follow.
This is to ensure the safety of spectators and the protection of property at the various league venues.
The Premier League Board (PLB) made this known in a statement signed by the Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Football Assocaition, K. Ampem-Darko.
While expressing “grave concern” over the “brazen acts of violence and hooliganism at some league centres” in the last two weeks, the league body stated its determination to deal ruthlessly with the incidents of violence.
“The PLB condemns the barbaric acts witnessed during some of the recent matches and would like to advise the clubs to restrain their supporters forthwith from visiting brutality on their opponents” said the league organizers.
The PLB further advised club administrators and their supporters to treat visiting clubs fairly warning that “stern punishment awaits all wrongdoers in accordance with regulations governing the game and its participation”.
On May 8, 2013, the Kotoko-Medeama midweek game at the Baba Yara Sports travelled smoothly in regulation time but some spectators after proceedings ended threw plastic bottles on to the pitch in protest of perceived bias officiating.
Other fans outside the stadium also pelted the Medeama team bus with stones destroying windows of the bus in the process.
Four days later, Kotoko players and officials also came under a more dangerous assault when angry fans of Berekum Arsenal attacked the team bus and vandalized it, injuring Rashid Sumaila and other occupants in the bus.
The rioting by the Berekum Arsenal fans started shortly after Porcupine Warriors hammered their team 3-0 at the Golden City Park.
Away at the Dormaa Ahenkro on the same day, play was halted for some minutes in the Aduana Stars-Liberty Professional match because of crowd misbehavior.
By: Jerome Otchere
Ghana’s Premier League board chairman Welbeck-Abra Appiah is calling for calm among fans as the title race and relegation hottens up.
With only four games to end the season, three Premier League clubs especially will be avoiding looking at the table with their focus fixed on winning Sunday’s matches.
Kotoko, Medeama and Berekum Chelsea are the front runners for the crown while Ebusua Dwarfs and Ashantigold are lurking to pounce.
The Porcupine Warriors have vowed not give up the defence of their Premier League crown but Chelsea and Medeama will have a say on it by 30 June.
The situation down is not anything different as there as many as eight teams all fighting to preserve their Premier League status including Berekum Arsenal, Heart of Lions, Tema Youth, Liberty Professionals, Amidaus Professionals, All Stars New Edubiase and King Faisal
The dynamics of the league has raised the stakes high ahead of the remaining matches as team will go beyond bounds to ensure they either win or stay in the elite division.
The country’s Premier League Board chief Abra-Appiah wants fans to remain calm and desists from acts of hooliganism.
“We are all in this country and we know how our league is run. Teams are mostly lethargic when the league start,” Appiah told Kumasi-based Metro FM
“I have said over the years that it is the same number of poins that you will garner when you’re ending the league, and the same three point you get when you start.
“We wait and then when the league is reaching home stretch, then some of the team deploy various tactics to either win the League or escape relegation.
“The league race is very tight. You ca never stick your neck to predict who will win the league or who else will be relegated apart from RTU.
“The PLB is not taken anything for granted and we will ensure the remaining matches go on as planned without any troubles.
“I will like to appeal to the supporters of the various teams to remain calm and support their teams.
“When you team work hard, their hard work will pay dividends, not violence.”
Real Tamale United is the only side which has confirmed their relegation status with either Berekum Arsenal, Tema Youth and Heart of Lions likely to join them.
Berekum Arsenal have reversed their decision to quit the Ghana top-flight insisting they are ready to face RTU in Tamale on Sunday.
The Berekum-based club wrote to the Ghana FA on Wednesday to inform them of their decision to quit the league after they were slapped with US$4,000 fine for crowd violence.
Their letter to the Ghana FA was rejected on the basis that the person who wrote it is not recognised by the federation.
Despite club chairman Yakubu Moro insisting that they will quit the league the club continued to train which showed that their threat was vague.
The club’s spokesman Mohammed Salifu has now revealed that they reversed their decision to quit following pressure from fans but it is clear they were only threatening.
“We have decided against our earlier decision to withdraw from the Premier League. This is not the first time a club had wanted to withdraw from a competition due to one or two reasons known to themselves,” Salifu said.
“This has nothing to do with the GFA’s rejection of our quit letter. Had it not been that, their rejection wouldn’t have caused us to stay.
“We have been talked to by highly respected officials in the country and because of that we deemed it proper to listen to them.
“We have decided to respect them, our football loving supporters in Berekum as well as Brong Ahafo and the country as a whole.”
Meanwhile some leaders in Berekum, who are livid over the decision to withdraw from the league, have asked Moro to hand over the club to the community insisting the people of the town own the club.
Kwame Ransford, a youth leader in Berekum, says they are demanding that the club should be returned to the rightful owners as they see the decision with withdraw from the league as a disgrace to Berekum.
“Berekum Arsenal does not belong to Yakubu Moro, his father or his mother. He was given the chance to run the club by the community and if he feels he cannot run the club he should not return the club to the community,” Ransford told Happy FM.