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Opinions of Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Columnist: Nana Ampomah

Shall we have a spotless Premiership season?

Opinion Opinion

If we closely watched last Sunday's CHAN qualifier between the local Black Stars and their Ivorian counterparts at the Baba Yara Stadium, we would have satisfied ourselves that this country is never bereft of talents in the game of football.

In actual fact, we are all anticipating a fresh entry into the 2015-16 Premiership competition which possibly has its ramifications on the just-ended season which was unduly delayed by complaints, culminating in court injunctions and legal matters that bothered on uncomfortable abuses of the orders as enshrined in the rules and regulations of the local game.

It will be recalled that Kumasi King Faisal and their bank roller, Alhaji Karim Gruzah sought a redress in court to determine what should happen to a club that had not fulfilled its financial obligations in debt payments. This matter dragged for months resulting in the change of the annual calendar which was expected to synchronise with the sacred European arrangement. Following the misunderstanding, the European calendar had to begin for several weeks before there was a compromise to begin our own national Premier League which began inside 2015.

The competition went on without a blemish but just about five matches left to the end of the season, the premier club, Accra Hearts of Oak and their arch rivals, Kumasi Asante Kotoko clashed in Accra and as fate might have it, the Porcupine Warriors pinned their opponents down and defeated them by a narrow 2 - 1. Kotoko followers earlier claimed some burglary took place at a hotel where Kotoko lodged a day before the match, and to them it was designed to demoralise their players. However, that case almost died down immediately Kotoko won the match, but that was not the end of the controversy.

Hearts of Oak spotted a problem with the Kotoko line-up, and immediately lodged a strong protest against Kotoko stalwart Obed Owusu who was said to be under suspension for some yellow card offences just before the match, and therefore, filed a protest before the FA Disciplinary Committee to deal with the matter.

Of course, the whole exercise did not take too long a time to deal with the veracity of the case and the verdict went against Kotoko for fielding an unqualified player in what was termed an "official match". Kotoko in a couter-claim had defended the fielding of Obed Owusu for the match against Hearts on the ground that the said player had served the punishment in an earlier Elite Cup match against Dunkwa United.

The Disciplinary Committee justified their decision with the fact that the "Elite Cup was not an official match such as the MTN FA Cup and the First Capital Plus Premier League competition". The decision did not go down well with Kotoko, and before jubilation over the verdict could come to an end, appealed against the decision and we have waited for the final decision right to the end of the season.

As at now, the whole world is waiting for the commencement of the new season, where the synchronisation with the European calendar has been a major concern, especially for the months we preciously wasted to be able to make it possible. How marvelous it would have been if our calendar had run concurrently with the Europeans and indeed one wonders how we can catch up with them, as we face a present situation where they are already 11 weeks ahead.

Down here, we only hear of player poaching by various camps but then, one might be tempted to ask what at all is wrong with our plans, how long it would take to do player registration and verification and the final drawing of the annual programme.

Unfortunately, some of the pretests in the promotion exercises have not been dealt with as cases involving Dream FC and Tema Youth is still pending, and the Techiman City case has not been fully determined. So far the only club that has been duly promoted is Ebusua Dwarfs. Really, that goes to show when all will come to a conclusion for the next season to take off smoothly.

Can we at this stage claim that we can look forward to a spotless premier league season with all the clubs abiding by the rules and regulations to the letter to end everything safely? It is gratifying that the election of the Executive Committee has come to pass and whether some of the trusted soccer administrators were outvoted or not, the show must go on.

The unchallenged FA President Kwesi Nyantakyi has all the right to sieve through his executive committee to select his Emergency Committee members, and for sure he can be trusted to make the best choice with some leading names as the present vice president on the radar.

Well, the soccer show in this country has no limit as we are all involved as observers, critics and spectators at various fields as centuries go and come "Insha Allah" till dooms day. But for the meantime, as we hope for improvement in the game, the earlier we commence the better. Over to you, Premier League Board.