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GPL: 5 things we learned from Match Day 6

Many were looking forward to the 6th week of the Ghana Premier League. Apart from the good-looking fixtures to savor, many had also missed the league following the one week break for the FA Cup matches.

The league returned, and in spectacular fashion. It had everything: sublime goals, shocking results, and managerial casualties. Here are five talking points from week six of the 2015/2016 Ghana Premier League.

Duncan finally gets the axe

David Duncan arrived to much funfair and was hailed as the “saviour” of the club. But a year later, morale at Kumasi Asante Kotoko is at an all time low. They are rock bottom of the premier league table; 16th with just 5 points. Not even Octopus Paul could have predicted that. Kotoko’s 1-0 defeat to Aduana was expected. But it’s not Kotoko’s 3 defeats so far this season that have worried many, it’s the overall poor performance of the team. Someone had to pay for that. Not surprisingly, it’s the coach. There were reports coach David Duncan had 3 games to save his job, following an emergency meeting of the club’s hierarchy after that 2-0 defeat to Berekum Chelsea. The club denied the reports. But after unimpressive wins against Hasaacas (1-0) and AK Shion (FA Cup), and a loss to Aduana, Duncan has finally been asked to step aside for his assistant Michael Osei. Three games, nothing better, manager goes. Were the media right? Nobody would ever know. But he’s gone. He becomes the 3rd managerial casualty of the 2015/2016 Ghana premier league after only six games. Nurudeen Ahmed (Aduana), and Mohammed Adil (Bechem United) are the others.

Goals! Goals! Goals!

One of the criticisms of the Ghana Premier league has been the lack of goals. But this weekend’s games provided plenty of excitement in that respect. In total, 25 goals were scored in the 8 games played this weekend. Ebusua Dwarfs, who until Saturday had only scored 1 goal in 5 games, fetched 3 in in their victory against Inter Allies. That game also witnessed two brilliant free-kicks from Samuel Quayson and Gockel Ahortor. It’s good to see Ghanaian players finally stepping up their game in set piece delivery. Emmanuel Ocran’s spectacular effort against Hearts of Oak was the icing on the cake for a very impressive Wa All Stars in their victory. Elsewhere, Latif Blessing’s brace is a note-worthy mention while Eric Bekoe’s bicycle kick strike for Hasaacas in their victory over Berekum Chelsea is the envy of many strikers. More of this please. More of this.

Reality check for Hearts of Oak

The new word in town is that if Hearts of Oak play “sushi” football, then Wa All Stars brought the “dawadawa” football to the party. This was a top of the table clash and for many who have followed Wa All Stars’ exploits against Hearts of Oak, this was to be expected. All Stars are a bit of a bogey team for the Phobians, winning 3 of their last 4 games against the Phobians at the Accra Sports stadium, scoring 8 goals in the process. That’s dominance. This in particular, was shocking for Hearts of Oak, partly because of the impressive start Hearts have had to the season. But Hearts needed this. Now, how they come back from this, will show their true character.

Referees in the spotlight

Over the years, one thing that has constantly threatened to mar the beauty of the Ghana Premier League has been officiating. In a time where enthusiasm and interest for the league is at a sky-high for the first time in a long time, the last thing we want is for referees to mess things up. The performance of referee Ernest Baafi and his assistants in the Hearts of Oak vs Wa All Stars game almost created confusion, with irate fans of the Phobian family pelting the pitch with all kinds of missiles. The reason? All Stars’ first goal was suspiciously scored from an off-side position, while Hearts felt they were denied two clear penalties. Yes, fans need to understand that referees make mistakes, but referees need to step it up. Scenes like we saw in Accra on Sunday are not doing the league any favors. In Sekondi, referee Eku Boateng’s performance attracted similar criticism in the Hasaacas vs Berekum Chelsea game. Chelsea captain Sadick Adams took to his facebook with the following post: “3points or a point could have been better”…but what will you do when there was A MISSION TO BE ACCOMPLISHED by the center man?”
Clearly, the striker felt the referee favored Hasaacas with is decisions.

AshantiGold won’t defend their title

If there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind that Ashantigold could still pull themselves together to put in a strong title defense, yesterday was confirmation. Up until the Liberty game, the miners were unbeaten, albeit only one of their opening five games ended in a win. They were tagged as draw specialists. But on Sunday, they were completely blown into pieces by a Latif Blessing inspired Liberty Professionals. This was one of the worst defeats in the club’s history. I can’t help but see similarities between what’s going on with AshantiGold and coach Bashir Hayford, and what happened to Chelsea Football Club in England. Two defending champions with outspoken managers, two poor starts to their title defense. Chelsea’s capitulation led to Mourinho’s sacking, and if things continue like this, it’ll be hard to see Hayford finish the season.


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