Glo Premier League begins this weekend with some hot encounters. Unless I miss my guess, we are in for some exciting match-ups. Two of the games are regional derbies while there is a game between allies. The two new entrants, Aduana Stars and New Edubiase FC are all on away assignments where they are likely to have a baptism of fire. Find below a game-by-game preview:
OHENE DJAN: Great Olympics – Asante Kotoko
The return of Ghana’s ‘Wonder Club’ Great Olympics couldn’t have come with a more exciting clash. Olympics and Kotoko have been sweet allies in the past. The Kotoko-Oly friendship was perhaps born out of the common spite for Champions Hearts of Oak. However, this friendship must be shoved to the gutters if Olympics are to make clear their determination to avoid relegation. Great Olympics goes into this game with a much more youthful team. Ben Mensah, Bilal Mohammed, Bright Bortey and Eric Adjei will be players to watch out for in coach Dauda Lutterodt’s side.
Taking over from a club that is struggling to find wins, it is going to be interesting to see how Paa Kwasi Fabien will be able to pick from the 48 players available to him to overcome the Great Olympics challenge. Will the inclusion of Baafuor Gyan from FC Saturn in Russia and Kabiru Imoro come as a blessing to the Fabulous lads? Olympics should not mess up with any of the following as they can each produce an ego deflating performance: Kwabea Yaro, Francis Coffie and Stephen Manu (B.A, they call him)
Prediction: Great Olympics 2:1Asante Kotoko
KPANDO: Heart of Lions – Hearts of Oak
The home side have been tipped by experts to win the title this year after an impressive GHALCA Top-4 performance. They will hope to ride on the back of this form to claim victory over defending title holders Hearts of Oak. The last time both teams met, Lions won 3-2. Kofi Nti Boakye and Tanko Mohammed were on target. But Joseph Jackson, Bright Nsiah and Daniel Acquaye were too hot for Hearts of Oak to handle.
Hearts of Oak will need extra effort to defeat the Lions of Kpando. They have a new coach who did not have a hand in player-purchase. It is not clear to me how he can use this short period to get his best eleven. Again, Hearts of Oak will go into this game without the services of midfielders Kofi Abanga and Charles Taylor. It will be interesting to see how Hearts of Oak will overcome these challenges to beat Lions.
Prediction: Heart of Lions 3:1 Hearts of Oak
LENCLAY: AshGod – Bechem Chelsea
The glory days of ‘The Aboa Kese lads’ seem to be over. The Obuasi outfit will most likely face another season in the lower half of the table if they do not come up with something extra-ordinary this season. The extent to which the Chelsea team can survive another season will be exposed on Sunday. Head-to-head, Chelsea were slightly ahead last season. They beat Ashgold 1-0 at home and drew 1-1 at Lenclay. The old order may not change on Sunday.
Prediction: Ashgold 1:1 Bechem Chelsea
ESSIPON: Eleven Wise – All Stars
The home team is looking very dangerous on paper. Coach C.K. Akunor and his deputy Nii Odartey Lamptey will look to take advantage of new strike pair Sam Ayew Yeboah and Paa Joe Kumah as well as the attacking abilities of James Bissue to rally a home victory against All Stars from Wa.
The Wa lads managed mid-table performance last season, however they proved far more superior against Eleven Wise home and away last season. The Wa team beat the Sekondi team 3-0 at home and 2-3 away. Followers of this game will want to see how well Sam Ayew Yeboah settles in his new Sekondi home.
Prediction: Eleven Wise 2:3 All Stars
GOLDEN CITY PARK: Berekum Arsenal – Aduana Stars
I have pencilled this regional derby as the match of the week. Aduana may be new comers to the big stage, but I don’t doubt the technical ability and experience of coach Herbert Addo, the mastermind of the AshGold’s glory years between 1994 and 1997. It is not easy to overcome Arsenal at home. Bigger teams have fallen. It will be an uphill task for Aduana to succeed where technically and historically richer teams have failed.
However, this game goes beyond form guide. This is a battle between brothers. A feud between Dormaa Ahenkro (Aduana) and their neighbours from Berekum (Arsenal)! Passion will triumph over technical ability on this day. Fans would have to watch out for Richard Addai and Bright Frimpong of Aduana.
Prediction: Berekum Arsenal 2:2 Aduana Stars
CARL REINDORF: Liberty Professionals – New Edubiase FC
New Edubiase is the name on everyone’s lips. The bookmakers believe they are going to survive the season. Perhaps this is because of the beautiful football they displayed during the middle-league play-offs. Recognizing that the premiership is of a higher-notch than The Division One League, Edubiase have signed some good old faces – Francis Jojo Bossman and Charles Vardis, former players of Accra Hearts of Oak, James Nanor of AshGold and Abubakari Yahuza of King Faisal.
Third quartile performance for a team which was once a title contender was an indication that Liberty Professional may have lost a lot of its shine. But their recent WAFU Cup performance has given doubters a course to revise their notes. I do not see New Edubiase beating Liberty though.
Prediction: Liberty 2:1New Edubiase FC
TAMALES SPORTS: Real Tamale United – Hasaacas
Just like Berekum Arsenal, no one goes to the Tamale Sports Stadium and returns without a bruise. That is why they have been nicknamed ‘Esere mu sei jata’ (the bush that destroys the lion). RTU has a very impressive record of never being relegated since 1978, but just like Liberty Professionals and Ashgold they were almost relegated last season.
Hasaacas have not won an game in Tamale over the last three year and it doesn’t look like this might be the year to overcome Abdul Karim Razak’s coaching prowess. I am not impressed by the new signings of Hasaacas. But who knows, I might be proven wrong!
Prediction: Real Tamale United 2:1 Hasaacas
BABAYARA: King Faisal – Kessben FC
This is the second regional derby this week. There will be fireworks in this game, no doubt. But king Faisal might just steal the show at home. Battles between Alhaji Karim Grunza’s King Faisal and Mr. Kwabena Kesse’s Aseda boys (Kessben) over the last three years have been quite cagy. Taking a cue from the 2-0 win home win by King Faisal in their last league encounter, I feel Faisal may just carry the day Prediction:
King Faisal 2:1Kessben FC