Sports Features of Thursday, 14 August 2014
Look how sweet it is to welcome back into the elite division those old clubs we refer to as "traditional" or the glorious beginners of our modern league after independence.
I am referring particularly to Accra Great Olympics, affectionately called "Oly Gbogbo", "Oly Dade", "Oly Rosalinda" who in the days of our football's wonderful reformation, made the game of football tick.
To me, Olympics do not belong to the lower division, and it can be noticed that at any given moment that they are relegated, patronage of matches, particularly in Accra witnesses a sharp decline, and clubs in the Greater Accra Region suffered financially.
Though Olympics pose a huge threat to good old rivals, Accra Hearts of Oak, Liberty Professionals and the younger ones in Tema, they are always heartily welcomed to the Premier League.
Yes, Olympics are crowd pullers, and are highly sensational even in defeat. And even in defeat, their followers have their unique way of making the game much more exciting. One might think that their recent unfortunate vicissitudes might cause a dwindle of emotions, but all of us will be proved wrong the moment they take to the field in the coming season in their blue and white jersey.
I am beginning to imagine the day they will face their sworn enemies, Accra Hearts of Oak or Kumasi Asante Kotoko, and possibly coming out victorious. I can foresee an earthquake eruption and the songs they will sing on the day. Of course, I can visualise their stalwart followers such as Willie Fugah and others dancing and smiling at everybody wherever they might be.
But are Olympics back to regain their instinctive enthusiasm and leadership which were displayed in the 60s and 70s? Time will tell.
I do remember vividly the day Olympics and two of their traditional friends - Sekondi Eleven Wise and Hasaacas - fell into relegation en-bloc after the 2009/2010 season. Honestly, it looked as if the soccer world had lost a great fortune. Really, we did not expect Great Olympics to be relegated in the 2007/2008 season, only to fight back and regain promotion to take their rightful position the next season and then lo and behold, drop again to relegation the following season.
Every ardent follower of the Premier League knows what it is to be relegated to the lower division. It is a hell of a problem where matches suffer poor patronage on fields which are not fenced with the club relying on the goodwill of their lovers facing financial problems and losing their popularity.
If you do not know this, go closer to Okwawu United, Eleven Wise or Bofoakwa and find out what it is to stay longer in the lower division. But that is not the reason why in the promotion exercise, a club such as Nania FC would play a fixed match with Okwawu United and score as many as 31 goals to nothing as it happened in 2007 at the Sekondi Gyandu Park.
As at now, believe it or not, the happiest bunch of soccer followers are the Sunyani supporters of Brong Ahafo United. The Brong boys, who are captured in soccer records as the "Apostles of power soccer" and a revelation in the1962 season, are also back to their rightful position. In fact, they have struggled in the wilderness for decades, and were nearly forgotten.
Today, the ‘Apostles of power soccer’ who made history by taking the enviable third position in the first season of their entry into the premiership have come back to make football extra sweet to the relief of their followers.
Sunyani was agog on the day BA United climbed back to the premiership, and the feeling is good for believers of total football.
BA United, in those good old days, could boast of such heroes as Agyeman Gyau, Barnie Junior, Agyeman Badu, Richard Bernie, Isaac Amoako, Gyabaa, Solomon Kwakye, Osei Tutu, Anthony Adoma, Eric Adjei, Anthony Dwomoh, Charles Yeboah, Nsowaa, Musa Salifu, Sarpong, Kwame Tawiah, Alhasan Aliman among others.
This is a club that has always believed, in showing progressive development in the prestigious Premier League, and its return will certainly pose a big challenge to their traditional rivals and the younger clubs.
Also expecting a big welcome to the elite division are Gomoa Fetteh Feyenoord who had their first promotion into the premiership in the 2004/2005 season, but went back after the 2006/2007 season. Feyenoord established themselves as excellent exponents of the beautiful game and unbelievable giant-killers feared by the old clubs.
I believe we stand to gain from their return to the top division and their proud technical director, Sam Arday, is surely coming out to exhibit his ever-popular ‘multi-system’ and resume their winning style with a revolutionary approach.
My only beef now is that so-called synchronisation of our league with the UEFA calender which has already commenced in Europe. Down here, the FA is yet to hold its congress to announce the day the league will commence, and I know the PLB knows the rate at which they should go to catch up with our European counterparts.
It is hoped we shall not be late. Good luck!