Nine months since Legon Cities Fc and Berekum Chelsea kicked the ball in the season opener for the 2020/21 Ghana Premier League season, and we are at the end of it here. Football fans were starved of regular league football for a long time and since the last full season ended in 2017 with Aduana Stars crowned champions.
And since the last full league season, we have had the league cancelled twice, one in 2018 and the other in 2020. The 2018/19 season was abandoned after Anas Aremeyaw Anas exposed corruption in the roots of the GFA that led to the resignation of then football chief, Kwesi Nyantakyi. The 2019/20 season was cancelled due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and in between them, fans had the opportunity to watch their teams play in the Normalization Committee tournament which was won by Asante Kotoko.
No team has been relegated nor promoted since then and the expanded league which now has 18 teams fully kicked off on November 14, 2020, to mark the return of football though in empty stadiums.
Since the first match, there has been many twists and turns at the various match venues across the country. At the end of the first -half of the season, Karela United and Accra Greta Olympics were the leading packs with both Hearts of Oak and Kotoko among the chasing, including Medeama SC.
However, as we conclude the season on the weekend, it is not the race for the title at the top half of the table that has fans interest but the fight at the bottom end of the table. An intriguing battle to avoid relegation is scaringly awaiting fans tomorrow. As is the case with champions Hearts of Oak who will only be playing for pride on the last day, Inter Allies is the only club among the bottom six teams that have an assurance that they will play in the second tier of the football ladder next season.
From King Faisal in 13th position with 42 points to Elmina Sharks in 17th place with 38 points, all fighting for safety, there will be a lot of drama on Saturday. The trickiest of the relegation fight fixtures is Liberty Professionals against King Faisal. With both seeking to stay in the league, it could be a disaster for teams though it could save King Faisal depending on other results. A draw could as well save both sides if other match results go in their favour.
Liberty Professionals vs King Faisal
The Scientific Soccer Lads are on 39 points and lie in 15th place, a place below Legon Cities who are on the same points but with a superior goal difference. Liberty has lost two, drawn one and won two of its last five matches in the league. They have conceded 10 goals and scored seven while keeping one clean sheet in the process. King Faisal on the other hand has been imperious in their last few matches, winning three and drawing two of their last five matches where they also kept three clean sheets. Their match would thus be nothing short of a goal-fest and the one who scores more will definitely have a chance of staying in the league.
Ebusua Dwarfs vs Bechem United
Cape Coast Mysterious Ebusua Dwarfs have left it till the last day to fight for safety in front of their home fans at Cape Coast. Their match against Bechem United would have been nothing short of fireworks but for the latter’s last week heroics against Kumasi Asante Kotoko at Bechem secured them league football for next season. However, it won’t be a walkover for the Crabs as they would still need to fight for the win if they want to stay in the league next season.
Dwarfs have won two, drawn one and lost two of their last five league matches, conceded 5 goals and scored 6 with one clean sheet. Bechem United on the other hand have won two, lost one and drawn two in that period with 5 goals scored, three conceded and one clean sheet. It would be an interesting fixture to look forward to this coming Saturday.
Legon Cities vs Eleven Wonders
Legon Cities maiden season in Accra is a rocky one for the former premier league champions who were at least a mid-table club in their former thumping grounds at the Mali Jabir stadium in Wa. And a move to the national capital has not been quite impressive in terms of the output on the field despite the presence of Ghana veteran Asamoah Gyan in the squad. They would now have to decide their faith against Eleven Wonders on the last day of the season. Currently placed 14th, they are on 39 points, the same as neighbours Liberty Professionals and one below King Faisal. Wonders have already secured their status for next season and would have nothing to lose even if it goes against them.
The Royals have lost four of their last five matches and drew only one in that period. They have also conceded 8 goals and scored only one in that period. Eleven Wonders meanwhile have won three and lost two within the same period, scoring 9 goals and conceding 6 goals with one clean sheet. It will be a difficult task for Cities to carry out but it is possible for them to get it done well.
Asante Kotoko vs Elmina Sharks
Elmina Sharks would have wished to avoid a clash of this nature most especially in a contest for safety, but they have little of a choice than go for it. Kotoko is a bruised prey who would want to end the day with a game to show forth and there is no other moment for them to put some smiles on the faces of their crestfallen fans than on the last day of the season. With that in mind, they would care less what situation the Sharks are in. Having suffered terrible setbacks in recent weeks that cost them the title, they will want to win for pride and keep good memories for the new season.
Kotoko is not in great form coming into this match having lost two, drawn one and with two wins in their last five attempts. They also have conceded and scored seven goals each. Their recent results against King Faisal and Bechem United should be encouraging to Sharks though Sharks cannot also boast of better results in recent times either. Just like Kotoko, the Elmina-based side has also lost two, drawn one and won two of their last five matches. In that period, they scored 8 and conceded 7 while keeping one clean sheet.
With all these crucial fixtures on the last day, it would be nothing short of entertainment filled with emotions at least four of the match venues. Whoever among the fighting five secures a place in the league for next season would have well deserved it. But it will solely not just be about their sole results but also what their neighbours get at the end of the day would help the decision.