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Opinions of Sunday, 28 August 2016


Ghana Premier League: Who are the title favourites?

Team Hearts of Oak Team Hearts of Oak

As the Ghana Premier League heads towards the home stretch, the title contenders are steadily falling away.

All Stars occupy top spot with 45 points, slightly ahead of second-placed Aduana Stars, while Hearts of Oak, Asante Kotoko, Dreams and Wafa hold the third, fourth, fifth and sixth positions respectively and are not out of the running.

The standings are tight as each side seem to have a realistic opportunity of claiming gold, but what exactly are their chances?

They may occupy the first spot, but many doubt that All Stars can get the job done. This notion obviously stems from the seemingly tougher ties awaiting Enos Kwame Adipah’s men.

All Stars play at home against Dreams today, and although the latter are also in the chase for the title – even if few are giving them much chance – they aren’t expected to pose much danger in Wa.

All Stars’ true tests, however, are expected to come when they play Liberty Professionals away, host Aduana in a potential top-of-the-table clash, before travelling to Sekondi to face relegation contenders Hasaacas, who will want to win at all costs on the last day to improve their chances of survival.

Talking of Aduana, the Dormaa-based outfit have a tricky away tie with Wafa ahead of the big clash with All Stars.

Wafa have won 10 and drawn three of 13 home games so far, setting things up for a cagey encounter. Those two games aside, Aduana are expected to easily pick up maximum points in games with Techiman City and Inter Allies.

Surreal as it may be, Hearts are the people’s favourite, and not necessarily because they are arguably Ghana’s biggest club.

Of their four remaining matches, the Phobians play away at both seventh-placed Bechem United and bottom-positioned New Edubiase. Bechem have lost just once at home this season, but with Hearts boasting the best away record of five wins this season, the Accra-based side are still tipped for victory.

Hearts’ home record leaves much to be desired, having drawn five and lost three times in Accra. Nonetheless, coach Sergio Traguil’s men are still expected to beat ninth-placed Ebusua Dwarfs and eighth-positioned Medeama in Accra, as both teams have each picked just a win on the road thus far.

Asante Kotoko certainly cannot be ruled out of the race, but the Porcupine Warriors will have to play above themselves to achieve the unlikely. Their inconsistency has been consistent, and will largely prove their undoing at this stage where a point loss could prove costly.

Today at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi, coach Michael Osei’s charges play Berekum Chelsea, who are still chasing their first triumph on the road. Kotoko are expected to take full points, likewise in the matchday 30 fixture with Wafa, who are similarly without an away win this season.

But it will not be all rosy.

Kotoko still have away games against reigning champions Ashanti Gold and 2016 Caf Confederation Cup contenders Medeama.

The former have not been particularly impressive this season, but having won four and drawn one of the last five home matches, and coupled with a potential relegation fight in the case of anymore slipups, the game should be that fierce.

The story should not be any different when Kotoko visit Medeama, who, although currently placed eight, still have a potential chance of claiming the title with two outstanding games. Maximum points in both matches will see the Yellow and Mauves go just a point below fourth-placed Kotoko, in the case where both teams do not lose any game until that fateful clash.

All in all, the dynamics certainly set up a very interesting title fight. There always seem to be an added excitement when the race goes to the wire, and this season will be no different. Enjoy!