COMMENT By Prince Narkortu Teye Follow on Twitter
At the halfway stage of the Ghana Premier League season, unfancied Wafa surreally sit atop the table, and as their dream campaign shows no sign of ending, Goal examine whether we could be witnessing the surprise of the century.
Since securing top flight promotion in 2004—as the Feyenoord Academy—and returning to the elite division in 2014 following a seven-year demotion, the Academy Boys have often been seen as merely making up the numbers at the top table.
This season wasn’t supposed to be any different.
In contrast to their notorious fortress home, the side had held one of the worst away records in the top flight, once going 27 games without a win. Dutch coach John Killa left the club last season after six years, and the prediction was that he would be hard to replace.
The likes of Black Stars attacker Samuel Tetteh, 2017 Uefa Youth League winner Gideon Mensah and Charles Boateng have all moved on, but the predictions have been way off the mark so far this term!
Against the odds, Wafa have impressed this season, having won 10, drawn two and lost three games. With nine goals conceded against 24 scored—they are the highest scoring team—their attack has been nearly as good as their rear-guard.
Their performances on the road have undergone a massive turnaround too—at least by their own standards.
The side have won three of eight away games thus far, drawing the other—the second best in the championship this season.
The Nana Fosu Gyeabour Park, home of Bechem United, has always been a hostile ground to all but the home side, but in the face of adversity, Wafa dug deep to steal a 1-0 win on matchday nine.
It was a sign of things to come, but perhaps it was the historic 4-1 away triumph at Wa All Stars as early as matchday three that truly announced their arrival, although many failed to notice.
Tetteh, Mensah and Boateng may have left, but there are apparently no empty seats in the camp of the Sogakope-based side.
Majeed Ashimeru boasts the most assists (seven) in the top flight, and together with Gideon Waja, forms the fulcrum of the driving force in front of a tightly-nipped defence.
Razak Abalora remains one of the best goalkeepers on the local scene, and with Togolese striker Komlan Agbegniadan (four goals) and Daniel Agbloe (six goals) they boast enough firepower to trouble any defence in the division.
In all these areas, the impact of coach Klavs Rasmussen cannot be ignored.
The Dane stepped in as substantive replacement for Killa, and had an immediate impact. He has remained modest, despite winning the Coach of the Month for April.
“Our target is to stay in the league because at the moment, no team has enough points to guarantee safety,” the 50-year-old told KweséESPN at the end of the first round.
Perhaps, Rasmussen keeps his expectations low so as not to get ahead of himself, or it could be that he doesn’t want to grow complacent. Possibly, he’s still deep asleep, truly enjoying what, unarguably, has looked every bit a dream to every other person so far.
Wafa’s sleep will be long, it will be far from easy and smooth, but the icing on the cake will be that Rasmussen wakes up one day—hopefully on matchday 30—with a smile on his face, a winners’ medal around his neck and a maiden GPL crown for the Academy Boys.