The 2021/22 Ghana Premier League season kicked-off with Friday night football on October 29th. Newly-promoted Accra Lions grabbed an equalizer after falling behind to Elmina Sharks via a Michelle Sarpong goal.

Defending champions, Hearts of Oak were held by Legon Cities to a frustrating draw, and Kotoko set the tone for the title charge with three late goals to overcome Fatawu Issahaku and Dreams FC.

Isaac Sarpong, Kotoko’s new boy who led their comeback in Accra, was showered with cash by Kotoko’s faithful, proving they are ready to follow the team on the entire 34-match week journey.

After waiting 104 days, matchday one certainly delivered and here are five things we learned.

Issahaku will be a problem

After taking Division One by storm with Steadfast FC, Fatawu Issahaku completed a move to Dreams FC days before the new season. The winger had already partly made his name at the junior national team level, captaining the U20 side to conquer Africa.

But he did more than captaining the side, as he was crowned the best player of the tournament.

He also made his Black Stars debut under returnee, Milovan Rajevac after receiving numerous invitations to the team without featuring.

So yes, Issahaku had his budding legacy preceding him on week one of the season, but perhaps there are some who were not very much convinced and wanted to see more, and the 17-year old showed up.

In the second quarter of the second half, Issahaku weaved his way through the midfield and defense of Kotoko, to score his first Premier League goal on his debut.

And perhaps, if the nature of his goal is also not enough proof, then head coach of Kotoko, Prosper Ogum summed up the threat of the winger in his post-match presser.

“We tried to solidify the middle of the park because we realized that Issahaku, anytime he had the ball, had some free space to operate. So we brought in Agardas to mark the space and at the same time keep an eye on him. So if you realize, when Agardas came in he was out of the game from that moment,” Ogum said in his post match interview.

If a coach of one of the top two teams in a country needs to adjust his team because of an opposition player, it should tell all there is to know.

Prosper could be significant with Kotoko

Mariano Barreto departed Asante Kotoko at the end of last season, in what was a disappointing culmination. Prosper, who was then head coach at WAFA, was approached and signed for the Porcupines.

With a trip to Dubai for preseason, the signs at the start were entertaining, but not exactly exciting as Kotoko failed to win in any of their preseason games against Dubai opposition.

The first game of the new season also seemed like it was going to go sideways, as the Porcupines conceded a brilliant goal to Dreams.

10 minutes to the end of the game and Kotoko were still in search of an equalizer. With five minutes to go, they got their equalizer and even more, as they scored two extra goals in the dying minutes of the game to secure a comeback.

But the most inspiring part of the victory was Prosper’s though process during the game.

“It wasn’t a wrong substitution I did. We were losing the second balls in the middle of the park so I realized that Gama was a little bit tired because they were kicking him all over the place. So I decided to pull him instead of us playing two offensive midfielders. So I pulled him and brought in Richard Boadu and add up to Mudasiru. Mudasiru is a bit mobile so he would join attack and at the same time join the defense when we lose the ball.

“When Richard Boadu came in you realize that we have some stability and because Mudasiru is mobile and give those penetrative passes, we were able to open up their defense. And Isaac on the right is a fantastic player, he’s very good on the ball. He was able to take the left-back of Dream on most of the time and create chances for his team to score and he himself scored,” Odum said in explaining his substitutions.

Besides the tactical ingenuity of Odum, the rapport he’s already established with his players can be a dealmaker for the porcupines this season.

Hearts still have their mojo

Defending champions, Hearts suffered a frustrating start to the new season after playing a goalless draw with Legon Cities.

The poor run of Hearts of Oak versus Maxwell Konadu continued, but this time however it was not a case of Hearts not trying, because it just wasn’t meant to be their day.

Isolated cases of poor finishing, bad luck and exceptional goalkeeping from Cities’ Eric Antwi, prevented Hearts from finding the net. Hearts in the last three games have found the net on just one occasion, but Samuel Boadu believes his players will start firing soon.

“No, no not at all [Boadu is not worried]. Because this is the time we have to sit down and analyze the situation – where the problem is, so we can solve [and] then we take off. [The problem] was the attacking side because we created a lot of chances. At least we should have scored one goal but we squandered all the chances. But we still have more time to work on them,” Boadu said in his post-match presser.

Besides their failure to score, Hearts displayed the quality of play which propelled them to the title last season. Passing combination and approach play was reminiscent of last season.

After their fall to WAC, many have suggested that Hearts of Oak may be beginning to topple off. However looking beyond their inability to score, the Phobians should not be written off.

Eric Antwi could be the difference for Legon Cities

Besides some poor finishing, Hearts of Oak’s failure to score over the weekend can be credited to Eric Antwi. The goalkeeper stood between Hearts and a desired three points on Sunday afternoon.

He thwarted every attempt by Hearts and left the defending champions clutching on think air. His performance made him a talking point on social media.

Whilst Hearts of Oak fans had no other option than to be left exasperated by the former Medeama keeper’s performance, opposition fans held him in high regard.

Last season, Legon Cities had a clean sheet percent of 32%, while Medeama had a clean sheet percent of 41%. 53% of that came at home.

If Antwi manages to keep Sunday’s form for the entire duration of the season, Legon Cities might just transform certain defeats to draws.

Newly promoted clubs could pose a challenge

All three promoted sides, RTU, Accra Lions and Bibiani Gold Stars provided bits of what they are expecting from themselves this season.

All three clubs were handed tricky and difficult starts versus well-established premier league sides and none, fell to defeat.

RTU and Accra Lions secured draws with Great Olympics and Elmina Sharks respectively. Meanwhile, Bibiani Gold Stars were the biggest achievers of the three, claiming all three points versus Berekum Chelsea.

Perhaps the most impressive of the performances was the fact that RTU and Accra Lions showed fight to claw back from losing situations.

Match Week One provided excitement. Players scored on their debuts, managers have already been drawn into the emotional ride of the season and players are being showered with money for stellar performances.

Definitely, matchday two will look to topple the excitement of the first week.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.