On Friday, the murmurs in the background gave way to breaking news.
The decision of the WAFA coach shone light on the recent struggles of the Sogakope side. So far, the club has taken eight points from eight matches, picking up two wins, two draws and four losses in the league campaign.
Last season, they finished second with 51 points, their highest-ever tally. That number was done by getting their best home record, with 12 wins and three draws. What stands them apart is their flowing style. Joy Sports looks at five possible reasons why a side that began this season so well have suddenly gone south.
By the beginning of this season, WAFA had lost eight key players including goalkeeper Razak Abalora, Richmond Lamptey, Komlan Agbégniadan, Caleb Amankwah, Gideon Waja and Majeed Ashimeru. These players had been the spine of their nearly-men last season, only losing the title by a whisker to Aduana. The effects of player exodus in Ghana is well-documented, and this WAFA team is a clear example.
Assistant coach, Ibrahim Moro, echoed the same sentiment following their 1-1 stalemate with league leaders AshGold. “Most of our key players travelled outside and that is affecting us greatly. Some also left to join other clubs in the local league and honestly, those were matured players. Our style remains the same, but our flow has been affected".
To be honest, many predicted this will happen, considering that the club styles itself as a selling club. It is not their mission to win the league, but to develop players good enough to make them competitive.
Key players like Daniel Lomotey, and Aminu Mohammed have had start-stop seasons. The latter, a 17 year-old who received great press after three matchdays for his blistering start to the season (scoring three goals, assisting a few, and getting two man-of-the-match awards) is feeling the effect of the frenetic league schedule. Games on weekends and midweek are taking a toll.
The net effect is that the technical setup slice and chop formations. This has especially been the case with Lomotey’s injury. A mainstay in the team last season, he was superb.
The Academy Boys current squad, shorn of the steel of senior players who have moved, generally lack experience. And in a brutish league such as the GPL, one cannot expect to conquer with a squad full of debutants. Many of the players are tasting premiership football for the first time and would need a couple of seasons to get up to speed with the physicality required. Currently, two players are writing their West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), dividing their focus and breaking team chemistry. The coaches will need to find a solution, and fast.
Even the best teams in the world, with the most rigorous of preps, need a bit of luck now and again. It is possible for a club to collectively feel that 50-50 chances and all these other factors contribute simply to things not going their way.
That, in turn, affects confidence. WAFA clearly have a morale crisis on their hands, which has accounted for the dulling of their killer instincts. It came as no surprise therefore when they lost at home for the first time in 46 games, following their 2-1 loss to Medeama on matchday six.
And despite their spirited display at the Karl Reindolf Park, Rasmussen could not get the zing from his boys, and, obviously decided to leave now.
Where's the arrow-head?
WAFA set-up in a typical 4-3-3 formation, and there's usually a clear trident in the attack. The system helps the lads to play a free-flowing style that's become attractive league-wide. But due to the confluence of factors spoken of so far, the Academy Boys have failed to play with a focal point. After the sale of now-Black Stars striker Samuel Tetteh and Togolese international Komlan Agbégniadan, the club have failed to replace them with players of matching quality upfront. Charles Boateng missed last season through injury, and hence he lacks match sharpness. This is hindering the team's chances of winning games as a lot of wing-play usually ends in a fizzle.
How do they respond? We'll see, as WAFA lock horns with Dwarfs at the Cape Coast Stadium this weekend.
Last Eight Matches
WAFA 1-1 Kotoko
Liberty Professsionals 1-3 WAFA
WAFA 2-0 Aduana Stars
Elmina Sharks 2-0 WAFA
Inter Allies 1-0 WAFA
WAFA 1-2 Medeama SC
Eleven Wonders 2-1 WAFA
WAFA 1-1 AshantiGold
TV broadcast schedule (week 9).
– AshGold v Allies on StarTimes Mix, Max TV, GTV/GTV Sports Plus.
– Hearts v Bechem United on StarTimes Mix only.
– Berekum Chelsea v Liberty on StarTimes Mix only.
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