Sports News of Friday, 23 March 2018
After last week’s opening round of matches in the 2018 Ghana Premier League season, both victors and losers have taken stock of their team’s strengths, and are setting new targets for their teams.
Elmina Sharks vs Aduana Stars, Ndoum Stadium, Elmina
League champions Aduana Stars will open their are away at Elmina Sharks. The Ogya boys are kicking off their title defence a week late, following their involvement in the CAF Champions league last weekend. That journey ended miserably as they were bundled out following a 4-0 thrashing by Algerian side ES Setif.
The consolation though, is that Aduana have a chance to play for a place in the group phase of the Confederation Cup, CAF’s second-tier club competition. They have been drawn against Madagascan side Fosa Juniors and they will be hoping a good run in the league will help galvanize morale ahead of the first leg.
But against Yaw Acheampong’s Elmina Sharks, Aduana are coming up against a difficult opposition with the stubbornness of a hard nut. The Sharks lost narrowly to Dreams FC last weekend, conceding an injury-time winner to Zuberu Sharani.
Liberty Professionals vs WAFA, Carl Reindolf Park, Dansoman
At Dansoman, Liberty Professionals, another team yet to play a game this season following the postponement of their match day 1 encounter against Aduana Stars, welcome WAFA to the Alhaji Sly Tetteh Park.
The scientific soccer lads only survived relegation on the final day of last season, and have hired a new coach Reginald Asante Boateng to replace former Kotoko gaffer Michael Osei. Asante Boateng’s first task is to secure victory against bad travelers WAFA. The academy boys have never beaten Liberty away from home. In fact, WAFA have just 5 victories from their last 44 away games in the Ghana Premier League.
Berekum Chelsea vs Dreams FC, Golden City Park, Berekum
Berekum Chelsea welcome Dreams FC to the Berekum Golden City Park with the aim of returning to winning ways following their opening day defeat to Ebusua Dwarfs. These two have been involved in some high – scoring games in the past. In the only two previous meetings between the pair, 7 goals have been produced. Dreams beat Chelsea 4-0 in the first round before the blues returned the favor in the second round, beating Dreams by 3-0.
Dreams FC on the other hand, are coming off a confidence boosting victory at home to Elmina Sharks on Match Day 1.
Wa All Stars vs Ebusua Dwarfs, Malik Jabir Stadium, Wa
Up in Wa, All Stars will host Ebusua Dwarfs looking for a positive result that will kick start their campaign. The Northern Blues have lost as many as 13 players going into the season with a completely new look team full of youngsters. Their inexperienced showed as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to AshantiGold despite dominating larger spells of the game.
But goalkeeper, Rashid Seidu, seen as perhaps the most underrated goalkeeper in the league, is one the other players can always look to for inspiration.
Bechem United vs Medeama, Nana Gyeabour Park, Bechem
Elsewhere, Bechem United host Medeama looking to put their opening day disaster behind them…and there’s a battle of the new comers in Ainyinase when Karela United welcome Techiman XI wonders. Karela lost narrowly to Medeama on opening day despite dominating the game.
Asante Kotoko vs Inter Allies, Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi
In Kumasi, Asante Kotoko play host to high-flying Inter Allies what many pundits believe is the tie of the round. The Porcupine Warriors are coming on the back of a rare result at WAFA while Kenichi Yatsuhashi’s Allies were the biggest winners on Match Day one. In 8 previous meetings between the two clubs, Kotoko edge it with 3 victories against Inter Allies’ 2. But Allies have a reason to be confident, knowing they have beaten Kotoko before in their own backyard with a 1-0 victory at the Baba Yara Stadium back in 2014.
Hearts of Oak vs Ashantigold, Cape Coast Stadium, Cape Coast
In Cape Coast, where Hearts of Oak have pitched camp as their home grounds for this season following the closure of the Accra Sports Stadium for renovation works, they welcome AshantiGold to the Cape Coast stadium on Saturday for their first home game.
The Phobians have had a turbulent pre-season. They fired their coach and lost a lot of key players. But once the season got underway, new signings such as Joseph Esso showed signs of promise of good times ahead. Henry Wellington’s side gave away a 1-0 lead to draw 1-1 with new boys Eleven Wonders.
But against AshantiGold, who themselves have struggled since last season, the Phobians will be expecting to win.