Accra Hearts of Oak seem to have enjoyed some amount of consistency, three weeks after assuming the summit of the Ghana Premier League (GPL) table.
They have survived tests from Aduana Stars, Berekum Chelsea and lastly, Kumasi Asante Kotoko which they held to a one all draw encounter at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium on Sunday.
This afternoon at the Accra Sports Stadium, the Phobians would welcome struggling AshantiGold in a top week 22 match of the GPL in a game that could define the title ambitions of the two sides.
Hearts hopes to end their league drought this season and have given indication of fighting tooth and nail with close competitors to capture the top spot.
Leading the pact with just two points, the Phobians have no reason to falter less they succumb to their closest followers, Wa All Stars, who are also in contention for the trophy.
Against the ‘Miners’ therefore, Hearts must overcome their poor home form that has seen them struggle, surprisingly at their favourite grounds.
And this is what provides some motivation for the ‘Aboakese’ lads who also harbor thoughts of staging a successful defense of the title they won last year.
Ashgold had a patchy start that resulted in fans calling for the head of Coach Bashir Hayford and Chief Executive Officer, Kudjoe Fianoo but with time, have seen some improvement in their play.
Kadri Mohammed, Tijani Joshua, Augustine Sefa, Nafiu Awudu and Emmanuel Osei Baffour are some of the best performers in the ‘Miners’ outfit who on a good day could give the Phobians problems today.
Emmanuel Osei Carlos and Fuseini Nuhu have proved their efficiency in front of goals in recent times and could test the Hearts defense pivoted around Robin Gnagne.
But while they aim to test the Phobian resolve, the Miners must also be mindful of the threat posed by Patrick Razak, Eric Kumi, Sam Yeboah and Mustapha Essuman who would be pushing the team forward from the midfield.
From fourth place, the Porcupine Warriors would attempt to fight back to the top but would not have it easy against New Edubiase at the Gyamfi Park.
Gradually, the peace in the Porcupine Warriors camp is giving way to ‘wailing and gnashing of teeth’ over their struggles in recent times.
In Kumasi, they were held by mid-table side Bechem United before their heavy fall (4-1) to Dwarfs at Cape Coast.
That left them with a tall mountain to climb when the fans expected them to return to winning ways when they lined up against Hearts which they drew again.
Having failed to record a win in their last three outings, Kotoko would be under pressure to win against Edubiase who also declared an operation to win the rest of their matches to survive the season.
Currently, the hosts are perched at the bottom and would also need the win to boost their fortunes of survival but may have to delay the start of that operation as Kotoko faces them knowing what turbulence a fourth failure may land them in.
At the Dansoman Park, Liberty Professionals will engage Sekondi Hasaacas in a game of equals.
Liberty has continuously been a thorn in the flesh of the ‘Westerners’ and remains favourites despite what Eric Bekoe and his colleagues can do.
WAFA will definitely be hunted by the exploits of Dwarfs at the Robert Mensah Stadium where Kumasi Asante Kotoko’s demolition exercise was carried out by the ‘Dwarfs’.
The Central regional representatives have grown in confidence after their heaviest win and followed up to Obuasi to hold the Miners to a goalless draw encounter.
With Alhaji Tijani and Romeo Agban in their best of shapes, Dwarfs are tipped to win against the not too impressive travelers.
The dreams of Dreams FC appears to be fading after the first round of the competition but would need a big performance against Berekum Chelsea to improve their position on the table when they play at Dawu.
Techiman City will travel to Bechem to play against Bechem United with Inter Allies hosting Wa All Stars at the Tema Park but the Medeama and Aduana Stars game has been postponed.
By Andrew Nortey