Round 9 promises to be a cracker. All attention will be turned to the Babayara Sports Stadium where Accra Hearts of Oak will be guests to title-holders Kumasi Asante Kotoko. It may be early season yet, but without a doubt, one of these teams will win the Glo Premier league. This match is thus, a potential title decider. Home side, Kotoko, have struggled to pick maximum points in recent games, while Hearts of Oak look like the in-shape team, but the history of the Ghanaian game has shown time and a gain, that these games do not follow the rules of form-guide.
This game is even more difficult to predict if one looks at the different departments of the game. Both team possess in their arsenal some top-notch goalkeepers who are difficult to beat when in their elements. Sanni Mohammed and Soulama Abdoulai of Kotoko are of very high pedigree while Philemon McCarthy of Hearts of Oak has proven to be a match-winning week -in-week-out. Regarding defensive abilities, both teams again appear at par. Of the 8 games played so face, they have each conceded 6 goals Kotoko seems to be on top.
I expect the game to be won from the midfield. Kotoko trails behind Hearts of Oak in this department by miles. From the Kotoko side, much will fall on the shoulders of Jordan Opoku and Emmanuel Agyeman Badu. While, Charles Taylor, Francis Bossman, Ezme Mends and Obed Ansah are likely to raid Mayhem on Kotoko for Hearts of Oak with their pseudo-striking roles. If there is any advantage in this game for Kotoko, it is the potency of their forwards who have so far banged in 13 goals. Stephen Manu will be the man to watch in this regard.
If games are won from the bench, then I think one can expect Hearts of Oak to run away with the maximum points because in my opinion, Kostadin Papic of Hearts of Oak is a better tactician than the tag team of Morris Coorman and Isaac Boateng from the Kotoko bench. All said and than, I will stick out my neck for a surprise Accra Hearts of Oak win. The oracles have been consulted, the teams have prepared….let the games begin.
ESSIPONG STADIUM, SEKONDI: Hasaacas – All Blacks
These are two relegation-threatened teams who must each win if they are to have a dog’s chance of staying in the Glo Premier League. The game has a draw written all over it. Should there be a win, I expect all Blacks to pull a surprise away win.
LENCLAY, OBUASI: Ashantigold SC – King Faisal Babies
AshantiGold have suffered managerial imbalances this season which has adversely influence their on-pitch performance. On the other hand, Faisal have gradually asserted themselves this season. It is looking more like King Faisal this weekend at Lenclay and the best the Miners can do is to fight for a draw. Fans will have to look out for Togolese import Jacko Arafat from the Miners’ camp and teenage sensation Enoch Ebo Andoh from King Faisal.
TAMALE SPORTS, TAMALE: Real Tamale United – Tema Youth
You have to work extra hard to outdo RTU at home. However, the form of Tema Youth is impressive this season and although both teams are having problems on their technical bench, I expect a 90-munite gruelling battle after which I expect RTU to run away with a narrow win. Watch out for Tawfick Alolo of RTU and Ekow Benson of Tema Youth.
WA PARK, WA: All Stars – Eleven Wise
Wise is superior to All Stars in many ways, however at Wa, All Stars hardly lose. My friend Nana Agyeman, coach of Eleven wise has told me of his plans for Samuel Mantey of All Stars. It appears to me that if Wise can hold the offensive midfielder, they are on their way to picking at least a point. Nonetheless, if All Stars find a way around midfield sensation Rahim Ayew and James Bissue, they will take the maximum 3 points. This one is hard to predict.
CORRONATION PARK, SUNYANI: Bechem Chelsea – Heart of Lions
The Lions are wounded. Their CEO, Walter Yankah has resigned to add salt to their champion’s league injury inflicted on them by Étoile Filante of Burkina Faso. To make matters worse, they face one of the dreaded teams of the season – Anthony Yeboah’s Chelsea. It doesn’t look good for them. But probably, the return of Gladson Awako from Rwanda ’09, may add some bite to the Lions attack and earn them a point. I expect Chelsea to run away with the maximum points. My radar will follow the progress of teenage star Basit Abdul and Richard Atkika of Bechem Chelsea.
OHENE DJAN, ACCRA: Sporting Mirren – Berekum Arsenal
This is a must-see game. Both teams play beautiful football. Sporting Mirren must win this game. Their days in the premiership are numbered. Berekum Arsenals is however a tall task for Mirren and I do not expectmuch from the embattled side. Candidly, I would say Arsenals have enough capacity to sweep all points.
OHENE DJAN, ACCRA: Liberty Professionals – Kessben FC
The Aseda boys from Abrankese will do their best this weekend, but I think the Liberty challenge is a tall one. Liberty’s morale will be boosted by the return of Satellites trio Latif Salifu, Isaac Donkor and James Adjei. These lads have the potential of winning this match for Liberty. Maximum points will go to liberty after 90 minutes, I think.