GPL Review (Week 5): Statements, Away Blues & the ‘Dumsor’ Team
The latest gameweek of the 2021/22 Ghana Premier League season thrilled but also taught us a few lessons, five of which Ink & Kicks highlights in our latest review.
A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
At 33, and with his strength noticeably sapped by recent injuries, Aduana striker Mohammed Yahaya isn’t quite the workhorse that he once was. He doesn’t need to be, though, with younger players like Sam Adams and Emmanuel Gyamfi buzzing around him.
Yahaya just doesn’t have the energy for that stuff anymore, but what he does retain — namely, an eye for goal that is as keen as any you’d find anywhere in the league — remains invaluable for the team.
Against Legon Cities on Friday, Yahaya proved there is still some power in those weary, battle-scarred legs, and that his essence to this Aduana side really cannot be understated, rifling in a first-half freekick to give the Ogya lads their first away win of the season.
He didn’t last the full course of the game, hooked six minutes from full-time by head coach Asare Bediako, but then again Yahaya didn’t really have to; he’d already delivered what was expected of him.
And even if Aduana are trying to wean themselves, gradually, off a dependence on a footballer so well along in years, here was a reminder that he is still the man to make things happen for them on days like these.
A MAN ON A MISSION
Razak Abalora’s reputation, as a promising national asset in the goalkeeping department, took a hit last season. A series of high-profile blunders for club and country cost him a place with the Black Stars and, briefly, his berth in the Asante Kotoko starting XI.
But Abalora has quickly set about fixing all that this term, opening the league campaign with four clean sheets — and just one goal conceded — in five games. There are matches Kotoko might have lost, or not have won, but for Abalora’s heroics; see, as a stand-out example of such, Kotoko’s Gameweek 4 draw in Bibiani.
With a new man at the helm of the Black Stars, and the senior national team’s No.1 spot still up for grabs, Abalora’s chances of working his way back into consideration — if he keeps up the sterling form — appears bright.
OLYMPICS LOSE THEIR NERVE… AGAIN
When referee Bashiru Dauda awarded a stoppage-time penalty to the West African Football Academy (WAFA) in Sogakope, Accra Great Olympics’ traveling contingent must have felt a biting rush of déjà vu.
In a single moment, and with a single kick, a long afternoon’s hard work was about to be undone, just as had happened in Tamale the only other time Olympics had to travel out of the capital for a game this season.
WAFA’s Justus Torsutsey, like David Abagna (more on him later) of Real Tamale United (RTU) in Gameweek One, converted the spot-kick, snatching his team’s first win of the campaign and inflicting Olympics’ first loss after five games. Annor Walker’s charges had been punished again for failing to hold their nerve in those anxious final minutes, and maybe that’s something the gaffer would want to work on ahead of the next trip.
BECHEM UNITED WILL LOSE THEIR NEXT GAME, WON’T THEY?
Bechem United may be third on the league table, but they are already the league’s most predictable, least stable side. They won their first game, lost their second, won their third, lost their fourth, and won their fifth — you see where I’m going with this stop-start, on-and-off pattern?
Cheer up, then, Olympics.
NO ABAGNA, NO PROBLEM
Three games into the season, newly-promoted RTU had a small problem. All five of their goals had been scored by a guy called David Abagna, brought in from Ashanti Gold in the last transfer window.
The worry was that such an over-reliance could leave RTU in a bad place if ever Abagna hit a dry run. Head coach Shaibu Tanko has since sorted that issue out, with RTU’s next three goals — the consolation in last week’s 5-1 thrashing in Dormaa-Ahenkro, and the pair of strikes that sealed victory at home to Ashgold on Sunday — coming from other players.
The club’s chances of survival, surely, do look a little brighter now.