The cancelation of the Ghana Premier League follows through a worrying trend that has defined the competition for some years now. Legal tussles, corruption expose, and now the coronavirus have played their part in the abrupt cancelation of the campaigns.
The current season was looking promising. Records lay in wait to be smashed, the fans had picked up their hobbies of watching football again, while the organizers enjoyed very good publicity for bringing back the love. And so for them and the many others who stood to benefit from a finished season, the news of cancelation news will be a bitter pill to swallow. But some will take the news with grace.
Here are my biggest winners and losers following the cancelation of the 2019/2020 season:
Aduana Stars (Losers): Aduana Stars’ consistency in the Ghana Premier League is much documented. Two-time winners and occasional runner-up in the top flight in the last decade makes them favorites in almost every campaign. Fine margins have sometimes separated them from top spot and so with the season as a half way stage and lying first with 28 points, Aduana would think this would be yet another season that ends with confetti-sprayed celebrations. But the cancelation of the season means they end up with zilch. From a winning position, Aduana Stars are safely the biggest losers.
GFA (Losers): Words cannot begin to describe the losses the GFA will record after the announcement that its flagship competition will not proceed as planned amid the coronavirus pandemic. The virus after arriving on our shores prompted a lockdown that inescapably reduced physical activities in every sector including football. However, some things are returning to normal, but not football. Now the GFA, as per their official will lose about $2.2 million while a famous campaign “Bring Back The Love” has now been lost to the wind. Returning Ghana football to its previously high glorious days seems a harder task than anticipated.
Fans (Losers): Long has the GPL been crying out for the kind of fan attendance we witnessed in the just-ended season. Stadiums were hardly filled, but the feeling was an assuring one. The lovers of the beautiful were hoping to celebrate a title victory once again. Been a while they saw a champion. Since, 2017 when Aduana Stars won the league title, there has been no winner of the championship and now these supporters will have to wait until further notice to know when the new season starts and if it indeed finishes this time around.
Karela United (Winners): When news broke that the league has been canceled due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, one can imagine nose-masked muffled screams for joy in the camp of Karela United. Karela was high flying in the previous tournament, the Normalization Committee Special Competition, finishing third, and raising eyebrows in the process. Their ambitious run to the podium has not been seen in the 2019/20 season. Instead, they languished at the bottom of the table with only 11 points after 15 games, averaging 1.3 points per game. They will welcome this cancelation, regroup and press the reset button for the next season.
Asante Kotoko and Ashanti Gold (Winners): There’s something sweet about receiving the odd gift without having to work for it. After the announcement that the league has been called off to prevent any unnecessary spread of the coronavirus, it was announced that Kotoko and Ashanti Gold would represent Ghana in the CAF Champions League and the Confederations Cup, should they accept it. There’s not been any official word from their quarters just yet about whether they accept this decision, but the feeling will be one of ecstasy. After all, that’s one of the objectives they handed their coaches at the start of the season in December last year. They’d jump for this giveaway.
By Thierry Nyann