Goal.com Ghana puts the spotlight on five teams in the Ghana Premier League where the kings, the kingmakers and the bridesmaid will come from this seasonAfter taking a break to accommodate the Africa Cup of Nations, the second round of the Ghana Premier League has entered its second week and Goal.com Ghana’s Joshua Ansah takes a look at five teams to watch out for in this last lap of the Ghanaian top flight.
|A wounded lion: Accra Hearts of Oak|
Accra hearts of oak have had a really torrid start to the season and quite surprisingly, with respect to their rich history and not their performances during this season, are swimming uncomfortably in relegation waters. The build-up to the season was good and after some very good performances then coach C. K. Ackunnor’s team looked set to make themselves proud over the course of the season.
After five games and four points from a possible 15, a run that ended with three consecutive losses, Hearts got rid of Ackunnor for non-performance and after put a familiar face in charge relying on seasoned campaigner David Duncan to bring out the team’s true potential. Duncan has, however, struggled to reach the heights of old and a meager eight points from a possible nine games in charge has contributed to the Phobians precarious position on the league log. Expect Hearts to be the wounded lion of the league in the second round. The Phobians do not look light in front of goal and have the second best attack in the league based on stats with only Amidaus Professionals having scored more times.
Hearts of oak have scored in 11 of their 15 league matches (first round) and do not look shy in front of goal. It is at the back though that Duncan will have to do the most work. Duncan has on his hands the second worst defence in the league having conceded 24 times this season, only bottom club RTU have shipped more goals. They have only managed two clean sheets in 15 league games and have generally looked completely out of sorts at the back. If the Phobians can get that defence fixed, they could be in for a real show over the course of the next 15 games and that win against King Faisal last week brings a lot of confidence to the side.
|A reinvigorated giant: Kumasi Asante Kotoko|
Dubbed the ‘draw masters’ of the league after racking up more draws (8) than wins (6) so far in the league, Kotoko had a pretty satisfactory first round. Despite losing just once, eight Kotoko matches ended level as the Porcupines seemed to struggle to get wins, especially at the Baba Yara Stadium where they won just three games out of seven, drawing the other four. Kotoko have struggled to break teams down so far this season, but the team finally looks to be on the right path with three of their six wins so far this season coming in their last five league games.
Despite all their problems in front of goal, they have scored just 17 times in 15 matches so far in the league, Kotoko have looked solid at the back and seem to have found their scoring touch, having scored nine of their 17 league goals in their last five matches and having put seven past Equatoguinean side Sony Ela Nguema in the Caf Champions League. The Porcupine Warriors, currently lying in third place are just three points off league leaders Medeama and have a real shot at winning the title if they keep improving the way they have been and find a way to turn draws into wins. Starting off with a nervy 3-3 draw against Liberty Professionals is a clear warning no team will come to Kumasi and give in to them so easily.
|Two in-form up and comers: Medeama SC|
Medeama have really come to the party this season after threatening to do so for the last couple of seasons. Medeama have really put in a very good shift in the first round of matches leading them to top spot with a three point cushion over their closest rivals Aduana. With 30 points out of a possible 45, Medeama have been one of the most convincing sides in the league and have managed some very convincing displays but will have to put in a similar performance over the next half of the season if they are to see off Aduana and Kotoko who will also be looking forward to win the ultimate. Based on the evidence of the first half of the season a lot will be expected of the Tarkwa-based club and a place in the top three will be the least their fans will be expecting from them - a first title, however, will be their main aim.
The team that broke the Hearts-Kotoko duopoly on the league table, Aduana have gone about their season the way they went about the title winning season of 2009-10. Solid and regimented at the back, Aduana have made a name for themselves with a lot of smash and grab wins with 1-0 being the most common scoreline for them in that title winning season. This term too three of their wins have been by the same scoreline. Aduana’s defensive capabilities and their mastery of the smash and grab win will see them make a real push for the title and though they may not be the most exciting team to watch in the league, the former Ghana league champions are definitely one to watch with the Dormaa boys in a very good position for their second league title in four years.
|Amidaus Professionals - A determined dark horses|
Amidaus came to fame before they were promoted to the premier league. They are the team who promised and delivered, knocking then league leaders Kumasi Asante Kotoko from the FA Cup. After promotion most pundits expected them to struggle as they will be playing at a new level, but the boys from Tema have surprised more than a few with their performance in the league so far. With hindsight, the signing of Kotoko squad player Yahaya Mohammed on a one-year loan deal was a stroke of genius and can, arguably, be regarded as the reason for their league performance. The boys from Tema boast the most prolific attack in the league having scored 24 goals.
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