GPL REVIEW (WEEK 9): Relief in Dormaa, Cameroonian Vibes & A National Headache
The latest game-week 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.
ADUANA SURVIVE LATE RALLY
At the end of the 90 minutes of regulation time, it looked as though Aduana were cruising to yet another victory, an impressive sixth in a run of six games that would see them retain their place atop the league table. And they did maintain their lead through an added eight minutes, but not without enduring a proper scare.
Berekum Chelsea, Aduana’s regional rivals, tend to give the Ogya lads some of their toughest fixtures each season, and this one was no different, even if the visitors left it a bit too late. Chelsea rallied to score twice, setting up a nervy finale by chipping away at what had been a three-goal deficit.
Aduana held on to win 3-2 and avoided what would have been a rather spectacular capitulation — having conceded as many goals in those final minutes as in their preceding six matches combined — but, surely, they’d be just a little less impressed with themselves. They did get away with one here, didn’t they?
KOTOKO’S CAMEROONIAN FLAVOUR
Asante Kotoko beat Legon Cities in Dawu to end a three-game winless run that was beginning to get some fans agitated. A pair of well-taken strikes from Franck Etouga secured a timely 2-1 victory, ensuring that all of Kotoko’s last five goals have come from the two Cameroonian forwards they acquired only in the last transfer window.
Etouga now has three to his name, with his compatriot, Georges Mfegue, bagging two. It took the pair a while to settle after making the move from their homeland but, to the delight of head coach Prosper Narteh Ogum, they’re finally finding their feet — and finding the goals.
COULD WE TALK ABOUT KONADU, PLEASE?
Ordinarily, Legon Cities’ struggles this season — one win from nine games, leaving them firmly rooted in the relegation zone — would have been their own headache.
But here is the case where Cities’ poor form, by virtue of their head coach, Maxwell Konadu, being one of the Black Stars’ assistant coaches, is actually a matter of national concern. Konadu will be the man Ghana boss Milovan Rajevac primarily turns to at next year’s month’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) when the going gets tough, remember, and is expected to make significant input as the Black Stars scheme to conquer the continent 40 years after they last did.
Regardless of how you feel about Cities and their fortunes, you should be a little worried about all this.
BOADU’S REDISCOVERS HIS TOUCH
Samuel Boadu settled on a regular Accra Hearts of Oak starting XI last season and generally stuck with that template, being richly rewarded for his faith in the end with league glory. It didn’t hurt, however, that Boadu also knew just when to make decisive substitutions that would yield maximum gains.
The Phobians’ tough start to their title defence this season eroded some of the goodwill Boadu had accumulated in the hearts of Hearts’ fans, with some even going so far as to suggest that he has lost his touch. But Boadu, even with his physical powers dulled somewhat by poor health in the past week, has rubbished such rash claims.
He may not have taken direct credit for the introduction of Gladson Awako that won last Wednesday’s game against Elmina Sharks — Boadu had already reportedly collapsed and been rushed to the hospital by the time Awako came on to deliver the match-winning moment — but Boadu certainly deserves praise for bringing on Kwadwo Obeng Jr and Kofi Kordzi on Sunday to swing a finely balanced tie against new boys Accra Lions decisively in Hearts’ favour.
Of all the teams in the league that have played five home games this season, at their preferred venues, Ashanti Gold have the worst record. They’ve only picked up one win, six points in all, from those games in Obuasi.
Sunday’s draw with Accra Great Olympics is already their third at the Len Clay Stadium, and it comes right on the heels of a loss to Aduana at the same ground. In a league in which home advantage counts for so much, it’s hard to see Ashgold reaching their targets for the season — whatever they are — should they continue this way.