Aduana Stars Have Lost Their Identity, and They Can Only Watch Their Crown Slip
The fact that Aduana Stars are the Ghana Premier League holders must have been lost on some at the beginning of the 2020/21 season.
But that’s only because the three years since that triumph have been filled with major disruptions to the domestic football calendar, including long spells of inactivity and two uncompleted terms.
As this season has rolled along, however, any sheen that Aduana retained as champions has faded some more, and they’re almost unrecognisable now. Aduana, a shadow of what they once were, have lost some — no, much — of what made them tick in their two title-winning campaigns.
Their first — that unprecedented, stunning stunt Aduana pulled off as top-flight rookies in 2009/10 — was ground out, really, built on a small pile of narrow victories, an almost impregnable backline, and absolute home invincibility.
Seven years later, when Aduana were again crowned kings of the land, the blueprint was a little different.
Possessing the best home record in the league wasn’t enough this time — WAFA, who battled Aduana all the way in the title race, were just as good on that count – but the Ogyamma nicked it in the end, ultimately, with the league’s best away record. It did help, too, that Aduana scored plenty — 45, five more than any other side — while keeping their defensive shape sufficiently tight.
This season, though, has seen Aduana shed enough of those feathers to leave them vulnerable and with barely any plumage to flaunt. They’ve lost as many games as they’ve won (seven) from 20 matchdays, and, while the goals aren’t flowing so freely upfront (20), they’re certainly going in with startling regularity at the wrong end of the pitch (28).
A dozen of the goals conceded have come in three doses of four — chastening defeats in Dawu, Obuasi and, only last weekend, Bechem — and, for a team keen on defending its crown, this can’t be what the doctor ordered.
Much of this can be explained by the fact that Aduana are a team in transition. Few Premier League clubs are as good at retaining their best players as Aduana are, and maybe they overestimated — and over-relied on — this ability.
It’s why some players – veteran Emmanuel Akuoko and Co. — have been in the fold too long, and others — like defender Caleb Amankwah and former skipper Elvis Opoku, currently with clubs in Ghana’s capital — have simply walked away.
Reinforcements, it seems, have probably come in too late for Aduana — who haven’t been helped by the fact that they’ve already been through two head coaches — to achieve their targets for the season.
But there is still time, across the campaign’s final 14 games, to get a grip and, at least, halt the decline; a pillar on which Aduana can prop themselves up while doing so is the form at their Nana Agyemang Badu I Stadium that remains decent, if not as solid as it once was.
Little gains picked up in what remains of this season could inspire better fortunes in the next, in Aduana’s bid to regain their identity and re-assert themselves as, once more, a force to reckon with.