The Ghana Premier League enters its 5th week with some very interesting encounters to churn out.
The pressure is on Asante Kotoko to get their season back on track. Their bitter rivals Accra Hearts of Oak will hope they can avoid the curse of the astro turf in Tema when they travel to Inter Allies. In all, 7 games will be played this weekend starting with a Friday night kick-off in Kumasi. Footy-Ghana’s Fentuo Tahiru brings you the weekly predictions corner as he looks ahead to all of the matches.
Match: Kotoko Vs Hasaacas
Venue: Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi
Kick-off: 6pm, Friday (Live on TV)
For the first time, the Ghana premier league will experience Friday night football as TV broadcast means some games will have to be moved to certain unusual times in order to accommodate their schedule. This is already common practice in Spain and Germany, and from next season, England. And what a game to begin with. Kumasi Asante Kotoko are under pressure. Everyone at the club: General Manager, coach, players, everyone. With just 2 points from their opening 4 games, and with the infamous record of Kotoko’s worst start to a premier league season ever, the Porcupine Warriors know only maximum 3 points will be enough tonight. And they couldn’t have asked for a better opposition than Sekondi Hasaacas, a side leaking goals like a basket leaks water. Hasaacas have already conceded 11 goals in 4 games this season, the worst defensive record of any side in the top flight. They have won only 2 times in their last 23 away games. Eric Bekoe returns to his former hunting ground, but I can’t see him inspiring Hasaacas to victory. And the fact that Black Stars coach Avram Grant will be in Kumasi to watch this game should add some extra buzz to it.
Prediction: Kotoko 2-0 Hasaacas (Kotoko win)
Match: Ashantigold Vs Aduana Stars
Venue: Len Clay Stadium, Obuasi
Kick-off: 3:20pm, Saturday (Live on TV)
This is another of those games Black Stars coach Avram Grant will be watching this weekend. AshantiGold’s start to the defence of their title has been anything but impressive. Their performances have been inconsistent, albeit they were unlucky not to have won against Hasaacas in Sekondi last weekend. Bashir Hayford’s is already beginning to get frustrated and his post-match meltdowns have begun already. It’s understandable why. His team have been far from the all-conquering side from last season. The miners have only won 1 game so far this campaign. Comparatively, they won 3 of their opening 4 games last season and were comfortably cruising at the top of the table. Aduana Stars on the hand, only secured their first points of the season last weekend. But Ashgold’s invisibility at home, coupled with Aduana Stars poor results on the road should give Ashgold the edge.
Prediction: AshantiGold 2-1 (Ashgold win)
Match: Bechem United Vs Ebusua Dwarfs
Venue:Nana Gyeabour Park, Bechem
Bechem United are one of those sides that don’t care so much about results away from home. However, it’s their home games that truly count for them. And so far, in their opening 2 games at home, they have beaten Liberty Professionals and New Edubiase FC. You might as well add Ebusua Dwarfs to the list of culprits at the Nana Gyeabour Park. Dwarfs are winless after 3 games and have the unwanted record of being the only side yet to score a goal in the premier league this season. J.E. Sarpong’s threat to walk away if the players showed a lack of commitment. They were full of life in their draw against Hearts of Oak but in Bechem, it will be difficult to see Dwarfs building on that result.
Prediction: Bechem United 2-0 Ebusua Dwarfs (Bechem win)
Match: Inter Allies Vs Hearts of Oak
Venue: Tema Park, Tema
Kick-off: 3:20pm, Sunday (Live on TV)
This the last of the games Black Stars coach Avram Grant will be seeing this weekend in what is expected to be his busiest week yet in a Ghana premier league weekend. Inter Allies impressed a lot of people during the off season but have struggled to put together consistent performances. A lot of people expected them to get past new boys Dreams FC at home, but they needed a Prince Baffoe late goal to salvage a draw in front of a watching Grant. Add that to a surprising loss at Liberty and a draw against Edubiase in a game they probably should have lost, then you’d be left scratching your head on why expereienced trainer Herbert Addo is struggling to get results. Hearts of Oak on the other hand have been on a roll and the enthusiasm and positive buzz around the club makes a good time to be a Phobian. They dispatched Bechem 3-1 in a rather comfortable win. But in Tema, it’s expected to be a trickier affair. This is one of the truest test of Hearts of Oak’s season thus far. The astro turf is a different playing ground. While Hearts of Oak’s fitness level might have impressed many; against their former manager, who has revenge on his mind, this won’t be one of those games Hearts will win.
Prediction: Inter Allies 1-1 Hearts of Oak (Draw)
Match: Wa All Stars Vs New Edubiase
Venue: Malik Jabir Stadium, Wa
Wa All Stars have had perhaps their most impressive start to any premier league season. 8 points from 4 games is an average of 2 points per game. Many Wa would feel disappointed because they could easily have been top of the league alongside Hearts of Oak, had they taken advantage of their last home game against Liberty Professionals. Quite disappointingly, they could only manage a draw. That should change when they host a struggling Edubiase, who have won just one game all season. Edubiase are already touted as relegation candidates and it’s no secret why that is the case. They have struggled to win games away from home. Last season, their only two victories away from home, strangely, came against Kotoko and Hearts of Oak, which earned them the nickname “Giant Killers.” But it’s difficult seeing Saabato’s men getting anything from their trip to Wa.
Prediction: Wa All Stars 2-0 Edubiase (All Stars win)
Match:Techiman City Vs Dreams FC
Venue:Nana Ameyaw Park, Techiman
Techiman City are going into this game with a 100% record at home this season, and an unbeaten home record that stretches back to the entire 2014/2015 Division One league. They are a strong side at home. They have already beaten Berekum Chelsea and Aduana Stars in two regional derbies. However, their opponents in this weekend’s crunch encounter, Dreams FC are themselves tough nuts to crack. They are unbeaten so far this campaign and have picked up 8 points in 4 games, 2 more than their host Techiman City. While it looks like Techiman will have enough to beat Dreams, I’m actually one of those that think Dreams can get something out this game. The Nana Ameyaw Park is a hostile ground, but so is Robert Mensah but Dreams scaled that hurdle.
Prediction: Techiman City 1-1 Dreams FC (Draw)
Match: WAFA Vs Liberty Professionals
Venue: Red Bull Arena, Sogakope
In two games at the Sogakope, the academy boys have churned out some of the most exhilarating piece of football in the GPL this season. Unfortunately, they can only do it at home. Away from home, they have lost on both occasions. This weekend however, it’s yet another game at home that should more than likely be a routine victory for John Killa’s boys. George Lamptey’s Liberty have surprised many with their performances this season, winning both home games they’ve played, as well as getting an unlikely draw in Wa. Whatever game plan Lamptey deployed in Wa to secure a point is more than likely to be his go to tactic against WAFA. But will it work against the swift ball-playing WAFA? Most likely not.
Prediction: WAFA 2-0 Liberty Professionals