REVIEW: 2016 GHANA PREMIER LEAGUE

The latest edition of Ghana’s top-flight ended on Sunday, with final-day action as thrilling as anything served earlier in the season. Despite all the excitement, though, certain highlights and low points filtered through the competition, hence the five-point review below:

By: Sammie Frimpong

MISSING COACHES

 

Quite a few clubs had their head coaches go AWOL during the season. Medeama lost Tom Strand after a particularly bad evening in South Africa against Mamelodi Sundowns in continental action, while Prince Owusu (Medeama) and Yussif Abubakar (Techiman City) also stayed away from their responsibilities for a while following disagreements with fans before eventually parting with their respective employers.

DANGEROUS DONSU

donsu
Kwesi Donsu

The season saw Medeama’s Kwasi Donsu emerge quite a sensation, as the young midfielder reached double figures with goals scored directly from free-kicks. Not since Asante Kotoko legend Stephen Oduro in his glorious prime has a player in the Ghanaian top-flight been so consistently prolific from set-pieces, and Donsu — whose self-declared idol is Portuguese maestro Cristiano Ronaldo, by the way — striking all but five of his 15 goals from such range is certainly impressive. Now just when is that maiden Ghana call-up for the lad coming, Avram?

 

‘CHAMPION NO EASY’

Wa-3.jpg

Ashantigold found out, like regional rivals Kotoko did a season prior, that retaining the league title isn’t always smooth business. At an earlier stage in the season, the Aboakese were even realistic candidates for relegation before results improved barely enough so they could finish a disappointing 11th, just three points clear of the drop. It’s a case freshly crowned kings Wa All Stars should spend much time studying ahead of the next season.

 

HOME ADVANTAGE COUNTS HEAVILY

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that clubs which get the most from their home games have better chances of success in the league. All Stars and Aduana, first and second respectively in the end, lost just a game each at home-grounds where they picked 29 wins between them, while Kotoko and rivals Hearts of Oak — who struggled to make maximum impact at their own fortresses — wilted in the heat of the title challenge. You’d recall, too, that Ashgold’s triumph last season was also largely down to their good work in Obuasi, never mind their poor form on the road. Clearly, that particular template seems to be working well and would be interesting to observe how much more rewarding it proves going forward.

 

POOR SEASON

The season was illuminated by several highs but, overall, it made for unpleasant viewing — and, trust me, it had very little to do with the late start. Nearly every club struggled with instability, dropping points with far more consistency than picking them up. It was quite embarrassing that power pair Kotoko and Hearts — for all their struggles — still made the top four, while New Edubiase’s free fall was quite a lesson in how not to fight relegation. Heck, even the new champions could only win half of the games they contested, losing 3-0 on the final day to demoted Sekondi Hasaacas!

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