A series of top-notch friendly games aimed at putting Ghana Premier League (PLB) clubs in fine fettle ahead of the season, have rolled off in earnest.
Over the weekend, Ghanaian clubs from the elite division to the lower-tier sides engaged in series of warm-up games aimed at fine-tuning their sides in different areas ahead of the new season on December 27.
This is clear indication that the clubs are leaving no stone unturned as the season beckons after a year and six months of no football action.
The businesslike nature of the preparations has propelled sides such as Hearts of Oak to pitch camp in neighboring Togo after engaging in a number of successful friendlies on home soil.
On Sunday at the Stade Omnisport in Lome, Michelle Sarpong’s first half effort against Togolese first division side Etoile Filante gave the Phobians a 1-0 win over the side coached by former Ghanaian international Abdul Karim Razak, alias Golden boy.
Intrinsically, the win will be an obvious boost for Kim Grant and his charges ahead of Sunday’s Presidents Cup game against lifelong rivals Asante Kotoko, who have equally been busy ahead of their epic meeting.
The Porcupine Warriors dispatched Ebusua Dwarfs 2-0 at the Cape Coast stadium on Friday before a second-string side could only manage 0-0 stalemate at Skyy FC in Daboase, Western Region.
Against Skyy FC – a second division side, Kotoko’s acting coach, Johnson Smith threw in youngsters Kwame Adom, Douglas Ansah, Kingsley Osei, Daniel Afriyie and Mudasiru Salifu-all eager to gatecrash their way into Kotoko’s first team.
According to Assistant Coach Akakpo Patron: “Our focus was to try the new guys that we have been watching closely and to ascertain if they are good enough to be kept or let go.
“Tactically, we have been working on our ability to possess the ball and to constantly retain possession of the ball. Despite the rough nature of the pitch, we saw glimpses of that.”
Division one side, Berekum Arsenal, announced their resolve to take the division one league by storm when they shocked Aduana Stars 1-0 at the latter’s backyard.
In Koforidua, Premier side Liberty Professionals engaged in an entertaining 1-1 game with division one side Okyeman Planners.
The ‘Scientific Soccer’ lads had to rally back after conceding an early goal to the hosts.
Young striker, Rudolph Mensah exhibited glimpses of a brilliance in the Liberty colours and will appear to be a handful for the league’s rear men who must brace themselves to face the young prospect.
Wonder Club Great Olympics have not rested on their oars since they were admitted back into the premier league by the Ghana Football Association (GFA) congress.
They played out a 1-1 draw with fellow premier campaigners, Dreams FC in a cagey encounter at Amharia in Accra.
Interestingly, the common denominator throughout the games is the drought of free-flowing goals. It remains to be seen if the long break has turned a lot of the strikers rusty or they may be hoarding the goals for the start of the season.
Reports have flooded in on the teams taking long practice sessions on penalty kicks as the GFA and the clubs work out a favourable model that can be incorporated into the league as a measure to tackle, the nation’s dreadful penalty record.
Surprisingly, with barely three weeks to the start of the league, the GFA is yet to release the fixtures with no definite time-line provided.
BY NANA BENTSI ODURO