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Sports Features of Thursday, 29 March 2018

Source: Nana Adwoa Yirenkyiwaa

Five things that could affect patronage of GPL

The smiles and joy on the faces of Ghanaian football lovers when the Ghana premier league commenced last Saturday was an authentication of the love that fans still have for the domestic game.

The crowd at the Tema Sports stadium on Saturday even though the game was telecasted live was enough to give you an idea on what the local game meant to the fans.

A day after the first game took place, there were 6 other games across the various league centres and reports gathered confirmed the massive quest for the start of the local football game, the by the fans, the Ghana Premier League.

For the domestic football fans that have spent long weeks and months for the return of the Ghana Premier League now have it served on the table.

In the mix of the joy and euphoria surrounding the start of the league, here are 5 things that could possibly destroy and lower the high momentum greeting the start of the premier league.

Poor performance of Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko

It is no secret that when both Hearts and Kotoko are performing well in the league, the competition becomes more interesting and attractive. Their quest for excellence increases day in day out and the crowd can’t afford to sit back but rally round their clubs .The narrative of who gets the bragging rights?, mostly drives fans to cheer their teams on.

We roll back the years and take a look at the massive attendance at game venues anytime two giants played against the other sides in the league.

It is no rocket science that, when we have both teams performing well, it generally attracts fans to watch the game and even patronize the local game to the fullest.

Remember both clubs have the greatest following as far as Ghana football is concern, so it easy to say that; success with these clubs is success for the local football game.

Both teams can’t afford to put up poor performances this season that, they have to come to the party this time around to save and secure the interest shown by the local football lovers.

Poor and biased officiating

We have gone back and forth on this situation for God knows how long, this season can’t afford to be spared of this situation. Officiating in the Ghana premier league is always at the top of the pool whenever problems in the league are discussed.

Poor officiating has always been the concern of most clubs which more often result in allegations being levelled against certain officials.

Complains of poor officiating is not new in association football but it becomes a problem when it consistently occurs. It is already a new season and I wouldn’t want to draw readers back to the dark ages but this season could be better off than previous seasons when issues concerning officiating are minimum.

Poor communication between the PLB and clubs

The Premier League Board and the various clubs needs to ensure there is effective communication between the two parties to avoid ambiguity in execution of duties.

Mostly, information is carried to clubs at PLB meetings which has representatives of the clubs present at meetings.

To avoid the reoccurrence of misunderstandings between clubs and the PLB, both parties will have to make sure, there is clearer understanding and conclusions at their meetings so as to avoid excuses whenever decisions are made.

Crowd violence/hooliganism

Club officials, security personnel would have to be on top of their game as far as issues of crowd violence is concern that, act of terrorization at game venues must be a thing of the past and quite disheartening how fans pounce on referees and jostle them; how coaches and some club officials insinuate and incite fans, with their comments and actions, to pounce on match officials and how security officials are mostly outnumbered by fans and sometimes overlook some of these vicious actions.

Attacks on media personnel/ refusal to allow TV coverage

With this particular area, I refuse to delve deeper into it for it is still early days especially when there is now a regulation that means points will be deducted as punishment for this offense (disallowing television coverage), which I personally think is one of the best decision ever made to curb the act and would personally be surprised if clubs and their fans still go ahead and violate this directive.

I think this year’s Ghana Premier League would be a stand out even without a major headline sponsor if these 5 things I have brought to the fore are avoided. It could end up to be an attractive package again.

God bless our homeland Ghana.