The Ghana Premier League is serving fans with one of the tightest title races there has ever been in a while with Aduana Stars leading despite giving away some crucial points in recent weeks.
The Ogya Boys have maintained the top spot for most of the season and seem not ready to slip, especially during the business end of the season.
However, the four rounds of matches left to end the season could appear as too much for their ultimate aim of clinching the title to be achieved considering the determination from other clubs especially at the latter part of the season.
It is fair to say, the two previous winners, Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko have not given up but it is only so because it is mathematically possible to turn things around. The main realistic contenders now would be Medeama SC and Bechem United who follow the 2017 champions with just two and four points shy respectively.
Between the two, Medeama poses the biggest threat following a few tangible factors which could work for the Yellow and Mauves.
The Tarkwa-based side have not been favoured the most following some unstoppable factors that truncated the Ghana Premier League in previous years.
In 2018, the famous Number 12 documentary by Tiger Eye PI shook the foundations of Ghana Football prompting the association to be dissolved while bringing an end to every football-related activity supervised by the association. This development erupted at a time Medeama SC led the table after 15 rounds of matches. With a game in hand, they led the table with 27 points, the same as AshantiGold who had a fewer goal difference.
The Normalisation Committee which took over to supervise the affairs of Ghana football on a temporal basis initiated a novelty league named the Normalisation Committee Special Competition to rehabilitate the collapsed football of Ghana which meant the nation got deprived of recognised football competition.
Fast forward, Ghana Football got a new president, with executives working with revised statutes and of course, the much-sought-after league bounced back. Medeama SC were poised to pick up from where they left winning eight matches in 15 games and accumulating 27 points just one adrift of Aduana at the time who led the table just like they are doing currently.
However, COVID-19 visited the world and eventually affected almost every sporting activity in the world including the Ghana Premier League. This meant the second round of the league was never going to return.
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Medeama will now deem it as a time to revenge on nature whatsoever that deprived them of possibly finishing high on the table in those seasons. In a nutshell, they have been here before and would want to go beyond this time.
Experience in winning titles
Medeama SC are the bigger threat as compared to Bechem United not only because of the current point gap but the fact that they know how to win trophies. The Yellow and Mauves have won arguably the second most coveted trophy in Ghana Football, the MTN FA Cup twice.
There are several underrated teams who have all clinched the trophy before but Medeama’s feat cannot be trivialised considering their opponents in the grand finale on both occasions. Medeama beat Asante Kotoko 1-0 in 2013 and repeated the triumph with a 2-1 win in 2015 and have maintained their rivalry with the Ghana Premier League defending champions.
They have won the FA Cup twice and have long yearned for the Ghana Premier League. Again, they would say, “This is our time, let’s go for it.”
The Evans Adotey factor
Adotey began his tenure at Medeama in 2013, initially joining the club as an assistant coach. However, his role quickly expanded when he was appointed as the interim coach in March of the same year. Under his leadership, Medeama achieved a significant milestone by winning their first-ever Ghanaian FA Cup. Additionally, Adotey guided the team to a commendable 4th-place finish in the 2012–13 Ghanaian Premier League season.
After his successful interim coaching stint, Adotey transitioned to the role of assistant coach, supporting Hans van der Pluijm from 2013 to 2015. During this period, the club won their second FA Cup title.
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After a topsy-turvy season that saw manager David Duncan depart in the early stages of the season, long-serving coach Umar Rabi assumed the role but for a short time. Evans Adotey returned to the club and has steered them all the way to second place. If there was anybody to help them achieve the feat of winning the league title, there probably wouldn’t be any other person than Adotey who has played a role in achieving almost every major trophy for the club.
Where Aduana Stars could be more confident on paper is the remaining fixtures of both sides. They face Accra Lions, Dreams FC Nsoatreman, and Bechem United. Meadeama SC on the other hand play Hearts of Oak, King Faisal, Samartex, and Tamale City.
While Medeama’s fixtures could look more difficult with the presence of Hearts of Oak, Aduana could rather be stunned at the end of the season. Their first disappointment could come against Accra Lions who have not lost back-to-back home games since they joined the league last season. They lost their previous home game to Real Tamale United and would not allow easily another defeat. Nsotreman have only lost once at home and are battling for survival which is the reason Aduana will face another herculean task not forgetting the resilient Bechem United who have not lost to Aduana Stars in any competitive game since 2018.
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With Medeama’s situation, while their tie against Hearts of Oak could be anybody’s game, they shouldn’t be having problems beating King Faisal and Tamale City at Akoon Park as well as Samartex.