Other Sports of Wednesday, 14 September 2016
There are eight Ghana Premier League matchday 29 matches kicking off on Wednesday, the penultimate gameweek of the season, but all eyes will be on the top-of-the-table clash between leaders Aduana Stars and second-placed Wa All Stars at the Malik Jabir Park in Wa.
This fixture will surely go a long way to determinging the winner for this season, with Aduana keen to make history and take revenge over the hosts.
Ahead of the midweek showdown, Goal pick out five key things to expect from this heavyweight clash.
Whoever wins Wednesday’s match will be hot favourites to win the Ghana Premier League title.
Aduana Stars currently lead the log with 48 points, level with their hosts, and a defeat would mean their title chase is over with one home game to spare at Sekondi against Hasaacas due to the head-to-head record.
All Stars stunned Aduana at home in matchday two in February thanks to a strike from Kofi Yeboah, but Aduana can win with head-to-head rule if they come out with more than 1-0 victory.
In 2010, Aduana clinched the title on final day ahead of Ashanti Gold after the latter suffered a defeat to Berekum Chelsea. The two clubs finished the season with 53 points but Aduana had a better head-to-head advantage.
Could we witness a similar outcome this time around?
There have been concerns about the nature of the officiating ahead of the match, especially from the Aduana camp.
The Ogya Club believed that referee Bernard Domfeh, who resides in Bolgatanga, will not be fair and must be replaced as he is from Wa and resides just a stone’s throw away.
“We will never honour this game if the Referees Appointment Committee don’t effect changes in the officials,” Aduana’s communication director told Goal. “How can a native of Wa officiate such a crucial game that can decide the winner?
“When we meet at pre-match conference on Wednesday morning and he’s still the official to handle the game, there will be a boycott and we mean it.”
Shockingly, their protest was accepted by the league’s top hierarchy, and Tamale-based referee Ali Alhassan has been tasked to ensure sanity in the game. The distance by road from Tamale to Wa is 399km, while from Aduana’s base Dormaa Ahenkro to Wa is 306km. Therefore the visitors havs no reason to complain again.
Meanwhile, referee Domfeh is now travelling south to officiate the relegation decider between Techiman City and Sekondi Hasaacas at the Nana Ameyaw Park.
While Aduana have scored the highest number of goals in the campaign – 40, Enos Adepah’s side have the best defensive record, having conceded just 18 goals.
The two clubs have locked horns six times in Wa, and those games have produced only eight goals; 1.3 goals per a match. Even when the title wasn’t at stake as this season, neither of the clubs felt comfortable going all out for goals.
All Stars have scored five goals against Aduana at home, while their rivals have netted three times. This record clearly shows that more than two goals are unlikely between these two!
Aduana have played some of the best football seen since joining the league in the 2009-10 season, but in spite of all the praise, they don’t care about winning ugly and simply do whatever it takes to progress, while their ‘noisy’ fans chant “Ogya…. Ogyaa” as if they are possessed to distabilize opposing players and supporters throughout games.
Given that Aduana coach Cioaba Aristica is a fan of the mantra, “You don’t play deciding games calmly, you win them by employing everything you can,” one is surely free to say that the visitors will fight tooth and nail in this year’s decider.
The Romanian has previously been embroiled in an angry confrontations with opponents’ players before, during and at the end of the games when the stakes are high.
Nobody wants to see a repeat, but given the tension coming from their camp, especially on the appointment of the referee from Bolgatanga, this game has a number of combustible characters of its own to contain, and fireworks are an absolute certainty in Wa.
Rumors were rife that Aduana striker Yahaya Mohammed, despite leading the top-scorer chart with 15 goals, was overlooked by Ghana coach Avram Grant for Bechem United’s lanky striker Abednego Tetteh when the Black Stars played Rwanda in the Afcon qualifiers due to his advancing age.
However, the former Chelsea boss is reported to be aware of the forward’s talents, and will monitor Yahaya again as he considers alternative options to Asamoah Gyan, whose fitness remains uncertain.
Grant will have a keen eye on Yahaya and will be looking at how he dictates victory for the Dormaa-based club in a hunt to win their second league title.