A long windy, yet to be tarred road with pits for pot holes. A road that at its end will see a league with better TV coverage plus a proper highlights package. A league where packed Stadia do not only happen at Kotoko and Hearts matches. A league where Berekum Arsenals do not continue to wear the replica kit of Arsenal of London.
To summarize, a well marketed and lucrative league that does not see it Stars jump ships to the obscurity of the Vietnamese league. Although the major problems that has dogged Ghana’s Premier league continue to exist, the Road to Redemption has witnessed a few things to be enthused about. There are some existing players to talk about.
From the goal poaching instincts of Emmanuel Baffoe, to the Iniesta-esque performances of Uriah Asante through the excellent performances of Asante Kotoko’s left back Baba Abdul Rahman to mention but a few.
Daniel Nii Adjei and Sammy Adjei are some of the old guard helping to push their teams to success. The bumpy Road to Redemption has also seen the two most successful clubs in Ghana – Accra Hearts Of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko– back battling for the league title.
But these are only the first steps on the Road to Redemption, the long windy road to redemption. While the league table would not suggest the race for the title is a three horse race [Wa All Stars (5th) and New Edubiase (6th) are both only six points behind leaders Kotoko], squad depth, consistency and trophy winning know how suggests it will be a three horse race.
The race is currently led by Kotoko with 31 points, four more than the chasing pack of defending Champions Berekum Chelsea and Hearts of Oak. Hearts of Oak have strengthened their squad with the inclusion of former Black Stars wide man Laryea Kingston (member of the famous midfield quartet) and Liberty Professionals goal machine James Abban.
"I am having a great time already here. People think I have come to have fun but I am putting a lot of seriousness in the training and the games as well," Kingston said. "Four points is nothing so the League title is possible. I love Hearts of Oak and think I still have a lot left in me so I decided to help.
"I want to set a big example to some of the big names in Ghana football. Our League is dying and if all of us can come and help it will help the League."
Free spending Berekum Chelsea have bolstered their squad with former Kotoko linchpin Jordan Opoku, former King Faisal playmaker Prince Papa Arko and Joseph Ato Bissah formerly of Sekondi Hasaacas.
Kotoko’s big name signing during the mid season transfer window was Micheal Helegbe, once hailed by Claude le Roy as the next big thing in Ghana football. Helegbe’s career has not yet caught fire and failed stints in both France and Belgium brought him back to Liberty Professionals. He will now try to help Kotoko who have lost one part of their deadly strike duo, Nathaniel Asamoah to Red Star Belgrade while the other, Ahmed Toure, is AWOL.
Berekum Chelsea will seek to combine the difficult task of playing in the Champions League with defending their league crown.
New Edubiase hitman Emmanuel Baffoe’s 12 goals in the first round of the league gave fresh breath to a local game. Emmanuel Baffoe’s goal scoring exploits endeared him to football fansthe nation over and his exclusion from the team that went to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea led to endless debates. He has been hailed in some circles as the immediate solution to the Black Stars shyness in front of goal and will be hoping to give such observations more credence.
The whole nation will be following eagerly throughout the next few weeks to see if Emmanuel Baffoe’s scoring exploits in the first round was not just a purple patch all strikers pass through or if he is the real deal.
Battling the New Edubiase striker for the top goalscorer gong are Berekum Chelsea’s Emmanuel Clottey , Seidu Bancy of Ebusua Dwarfs with, Kotoko’s AWOL striker Ahmed Toure. The national cry for more local based players especially strikers means that a good run of form could be rewarded with a national team call up.
By Kwesi Asomadu