Soccer News of Friday, 11 June 2004
The Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA) has turned down a request by the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to postpone this weekend?s Premier League matches to enhance the preparation of the Black Stars towards their crucial World Cup home tie against South Africa.
The GFA, through its PLB wing, had wanted to push through an appeal for the third week matches to be rescheduled to afford the Stars a longer preparation time for the impending battle, but that move met a fierce resistance from the clubs who thought the league had suffered enough delay.
In an interview with the Administrative Manager of Ghalca, Mr Kudjoe Fianoo last Wednesday, he said the chairmen of the premier league clubs met on the issue and resolved to continue with the league since they thought it would have no negative effect on the Stars? preparations. He disclosed that Ghalca had since made its position clear to the PLB.
To underline Ghalca?s uncompromising position on the matter, Mr Fianoo dropped the hint that the clubs might even consider reviewing the league programme in order to continue with the competition in case only a few local players again feature for the Stars against South Africa as was the case in Burkina Faso.
According to him, the suspension of the league prior to the Stars? match against Burkina Faso turned out to be unnecessary as only two local players started that game. To butress his point, he noted that it is only in Ghana that the domestic league is usually suspended to allow for national assignments to be honoured.
?This kind of arrangement doesn?t exist anywhere in the world,? he stressed.According to the original programme for the Premier League, there should be yet another break for almost four weeks to allow Kotoko and King Faisal to participate in a four-club tournament in South Africa between June 23 and 27 but which tournament had been called off.
Within the same period, the Black Stars are to prepare for the World Cup qualifier against Uganda away on July 4. The Premier League is expected to resume on July 11 and 18 with the fourth and fifth week matches before taking another break to enable the Black Meteors to prepare for the Athens Olympic Games.
Following the clubs? insistence, the local players who have been invited to the Black Stars will rejoin their respective clubs tomorrow for this weekend?s third week matches.
As a result, all attention will be focused on the Kumasi Stadium where bruised Asante Kotoko engage Okwawu United. The urge for a quick redemption aside, the defeat by Ashantigold has threatened the title defence of Kotoko, while boosting Ashantigold?s claim to championship status after a long spell in the doldrums.
And as the Obuasi club welcome bottom-placed B. A. United at Sunyani, it is only certain that they will maintain their second place in the Zone A competition. At Sunyani, Bofoakwa?s home advantage notwithstanding, they need a hard fight to split the points with King Faisal, while Arsenals and RTU fight it out at Berekum.
In Zone B, Hearts of Oak and Heart of Lions clash in a top-of-the-table encounter at the Accra Stadium on Sunday. With impressive 100 per cent records each, the game could produce the first blemish on one of the side?s league campaign.
Feyenoord Academy return to Cape Coast to welcome Real Sportive, while Power FC take on Liberty Professionals at the El-Wak Stadium.Great Olympics will be in deep trouble when they play as guests of Hasaacas at Sekondi