Winning the Ghana Premier League title isn’t an exact science, is it?
Some have done it at a canter, others with not so much breathing space. We’ve seen champions who have scored tons of goals en route to their conquest, and some who have clinched it largely by keeping things tight at the back.
So, then, which way to go?
If there is at all a formula for winning Ghana’s top-flight — narrowing it down to the age-old attack vs defence argument — where is it likelier to be found?
In an attempt to answer that question, Ink & Kicks decided to track the statistics of the last 12 winners of the league, specifically their numbers in the Goals Scored (GS), Goals Conceded (GC), and Goal Difference (GD) columns, as outlined in the table below.
|SEASON||CLUB||GOALS SCORED||GOALS CONCEDED||GOAL DIFFERENCE|
Crunching the figures, we found out that only four clubs (33.33%) won the league while scoring the most goals, six (50%) conceding the fewest goals, and seven (58.33%) having the widest GD.
Seven of the 12 champions ranked among the top three in each column, four in at most two, and one in at most one. A third won the league and weren’t among the three top-scoring teams, while only two finished outside the top three for GC, and none outside that bracket for GD; zero also happens to be the number of champions that didn’t make the top three for at least one category.
From that breakdown, the surest guarantee of league glory — if, indeed, anything like that exists — is a GD widened as much as possible by conceding less than by scoring more.
Case in point?
Aduana Stars, 09/10.
There might have been a freakish aura about their title-winning feat, scoring just 19 goals in 30 games (that season’s least prolific team), but it only goes to underscore (pardon the pun) the fact that banging in goals upfront is less crucial than keeping them out at the other end (the 10 goals they conceded meant they had, by far, the meanest defence in the league; their +9 GD, the second-best).
Generally, though, the key is to finish among the top three in the aforementioned categories — GD, GC, and GS (in order of essence) — if a club can have a fair crack at winning the league.
To leave nothing to chance, however, any prospective title hopeful might want to emulate, hard as it is, Kotoko’s clean sweep in 07/08 and 13/14: first for GS, GC, and GD.
Remember what Sir Alex Ferguson, the former Manchester United manager and one of football’s greatest serial winners, once said about how “defence wins titles”?
Well, that’s certainly true of the Ghana Premier League.
Yaw Frimpong — Ink & Kicks