Accra Hearts of Oak gaffer Samuel Boadi believes the Phobians have the ability to crush Bechem United’s home invincibility when they clash today at the Nana Fosu Gyeabour Park as the top-liner of the match day 24 games of the Ghana Premier League.
Against Hearts’ poor away run, that belief has been questioned by critics especially when the Phobian’s record away had been terrible this season.
Visits to Dawu, Obuasi, Dormaa all ended in defeats for Hearts to stress the team’s weakness on the road.
On the few occasions where they earned points on the road, it came against struggling oppositions like relegation threatened sides King Faisal and Dansoman based Liberty Professionals.
It is on the unimpressive run that Boadi’s vow stand to be tested by a team that has survived several seasons as a result of their strength at home.
The ‘Hunters’ are yet to lose at their backyard in 12 games, recording eight wins and four draws.
Clearly not a contender for the title, Bechem’s pride will be to complete the season with an enviable record that will stay in the competition’s history forever.
That brings to the fore a hidden agenda to extend their home dominance by adding Hearts to their victims.
But Hearts coach Samuel Boadi is hard-pressed for an away win to stem the tide of concerns brewing with the ‘Phobians’ yet to win on the road in four games.
The trend is becoming troubling especially with the Phobians picking steam at home and closing in on the title race, lying fifth with 34 points, seven points separating them from leaders Asante Kotoko.
If Samuel Boadi’s boys can mastermind a breach of the Bechem firewall then his attacking force comprising Victor Aidoo, Patrick Razak, Daniel Afriyie, Ibrahim Salifu and Kojo Obeng Jnr must be at their best while centre half pair of Mohammed Alhassan and Robert Addo Sowah, expected to fill in for the suspended Nuru Sulley, must apply the brakes on Hafiz Konkoni, Moro Salifu and Charles Mensah – the home sides attacking trio who have rained havoc on visiting opponents.
At the Akoon Park, Medeama will aim to momentarily go atop the league when they host embattled WAFA.
Medeama relinquished top spot to Kotoko as they settled for a 0-0 draw against Liberty Professionals in Sogakope on Sunday.
But Yaw Preko’s charges at their dreaded home grounds may compound the plight of WAFA who have struggled on the road and were shocked at Sogakope last week losing 3-2 to Great Olympics.
The edge to go back to the apex of the table remains Medeama’s biggest motivation for this round of games and will leave nothing to chance in their quest to realise that dream.
But they would not have that without a fight from the Academy boy who was undone by Abdul Manaf Mudasiru’s strike that surprisingly ended up in the net to hand the Wonder Club a late victory.
They may stage a fight to earn a point but the experience and class at the Medeama Park may be too much for them.
Karela’s push to keep pace with the title race may hit a snag when they encounter 11th placed Elmina Sharks at the Nduom Sports Stadium with the visitors unimpressive away from their favourite grounds at the CAM Park.
The ‘Westerners’ started the season the brightest and gave indication of joining the Premier League elites by winning the competition but fell off when competition increased from the traditional sides.
But they will have the chance to climb again when they face the struggling Sharks whose strength appear to have dwindled after losing a few players during the second registration window.
That said, they may have some firepower to safeguard their stay at the elite level and will move heaven and earth to snatch a point from the game.
In other games today, a cagey game is expected when Berekum Chelsea hosts Ashantigold at the Berekum Golden City Park whilst sixth-placed Dreams hope to reach into the title race contention with a win over relegation battlers King Faisal.
In the battle for survival, 16th placed Legon Cities confront 15th placed Liberty Professionals in a feisty affair with two points separating the two sides locked on 23 and 25 points respectively whilst Techiman Eleven Wonders contend bottom-side Inter Allies.
Tomorrow, Kotoko will play Ebusua Dwarfs at the Obuasi Len Clay Stadium where a win would maintain them as leaders with third-placed Olympics facing Aduana Stars at the Accra Stadium in a mouthwatering clash.
BY NANA BENTSI ODURO