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Dramatic Ghana Premier League final day can't mask chaotic campaign

Published on: 26 October 2017

The final day of the Ghana Premier League season was a fitting end to what had been a dramatic and chaotic campaign.

At Accra Great Olympics' clash at Bechem United, for example, the broadcast van deployed to ensure the contest's transmission, was prevented from accessing the venue after their route was blocked by a broken-down truck.

Amidst the chaos off the field, the football itself was enjoyable.

Olympics were defeated and returned to the second tier after just one campaign in the top flight, joining their fellow promoted clubs - Tema Youth and Bolga All Stars - in the relegation zone.

All Stars looked doomed from the halfway stage of the season, and their losses became more and more consistent during the second half of the campaign.

They won two games all season - fewer than any club - and lost 22 of their 30 fixtures, conceding 78 and scoring just 21.

The numbers underpin the fact that they were hopelessly out of their depth in the GPL.

At the top of the table, WAFA appear to have finally found the perfect blend between producing young talent and constructing a side that can compete for honours. They ran champions Aduana Stars close all campaign - leading the pack at several stages.

Aesthetically, WAFA's football was attractive - particularly at their Sogakope base, where they averaged two goals per game throughout the campaign.

In front of their own fans, they scored more than the champions, but Aduana's title triumph can be traced back to their fine away form, where they had the best record of all 16 clubs.

This was their second title success, and like the first, the title has further prompted discussion about the ground lost by the league's traditional heavyweights.

Wa All Stars won the title for the first time in their history last season, while, by contrast, four-time champions Ashanti Gold spent the entire season in and around the bottom three.

Aforementioned Great Olympics, whose finest hours came in the early 1970s, have dropped from the top table, while domestic giants Asante Kotoko were never close to the title picture.

Considering the impact that these heavyweights have on attendances, as well as the overall popularity and status of the league, the GFA will hope that they can each enjoy a renaissance over the coming years.

However, the football federation have enough pressing issues of their own to deal with for now.

For league was run without a headline sponsor for the duration of the campaign, while the television coverage was erratic, with clubs - Bechem United weren't the only culprits -- sometimes stopping broadcasts completely.

As the season reached its conclusion, the league descended into controversy, as coaches and club officials seemingly attempted to see who could trade accusations of bribery best. Unsurprisingly, the division's reputation was dented as a result.

The Professional League Board has moved to reassure observers that they will fix the problems, but beyond the drama of the action on the field, it's clear that they have their work cut out.

Michael Oti Adjei, KweséESPN

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