The 2019/20 Ghana Premier League season represented the beginning of a new era. After months of hiatus, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) under new leadership began life after number 12.
It was the second time since 1980 that more than 16 clubs would compete in the Ghanaian top flight.
A league which commenced with such promise and hope was suspended and later cancelled due to the upsurge of Covid-19.
Football stakeholders met a couple of months after to plan ahead and determine how football could be played amidst a global pandemic.
Eventually, football was scheduled to return mid-November with all teams expected to undergo tests whilst no fans were going to be allowed to stadiums.
Essentially, teams and players had eight months in retrospect to improve on their performances from last season.
Majority of the 18 clubs played 15 games in the 2019/20 season and with the current season also witnessing the same number of games, here are the biggest winners and losers from the break:
Karela United are the team to have benefited most from the break in the league. The Anyinase-based club were struggling for form last season and were rooted in the relegation zone.
After 15 games, Karela were second-from-bottom with only 11 points. A team that had previously made the final of the Normalisation Committee (NC) Special Competition had lost their mojo.
With just two wins, Karela decided to part ways with Enos Kwame Adipah. The club opted for an experienced coach in Evans Adotey – a man who had coached the Black Maidens and worked as a technical director for Medeama SC.
Adotey had ample time to look at where the team stands and has elevated them from relegation candidates to title contenders in less than a year.
Karela are high-flying with 28 points from 15 games, a 17-point improvement from last season. With nearly half of the season gone, Adotey’s men could pose as surprise candidates for the title considering the undulating form of the favourites.
King Faisal are another side who seem to have found new energy. The Kumasi-based club looked lifeless last season picking up no wins in 14 games.
The suspension of the league seems to have provided King Faisal with a new lease on life. The Insha Allah boys have found a leader in Kwame Peprah who has scored eight goals this season.
Although King Faisal are eight points better off than last season, there is still work to be done as the club still sits in the relegation zone.
Dreams FC’s transformation has been primarily based on a vast improvement on their home form.
Dawu used to be a ground most Ghana Premier League sides dreaded, however last season, the club had a 28.5% win rate at home.
This season, the Still Believe boys have a 71.4% win rate at home, spelling more of the old Dreams FC.
It comes as no surprise that Vladislav Viric’s men have climbed up eight places from last season.
Other clubs such as Great Olympics, Bechem United and Ebusua Dwarfs have witnessed slight improvements from their last season performance with Legon Cities replicating the same number of points despite heavy investment.
Whilst teams gained ground during the break, others lost out with Inter Allies being the biggest culprits. The Eleven is to One have moved from being comfortable in midtable to panicking mode at the bottom of the table.
The Accra-based side sold the best attacking duo in the league last season with Victorien Adebayor and Samuel Armah contributing to 18 of the team’s 22 goals.
The team went through a massive overhaul from losing technical personnel to key players.
Armah who scored six goals before leaving for KF Skënderbeu in Albania has returned to try and save Inter Allies’ season.
He leads a host of key signings made by head coach Danijel Mujkanovic whose side sit 11 points worse than they were at this stage last season.
Elmina Sharks at a point were competing for the league title last season and were just three points off the top when the league was cancelled.
However, this season has presented contrasting fortunes for the Cape Coast-based side who now have eight points less than they did last season.
As a result, Sharks have dropped eight places and are just two points above the relegation zone.
Clubs such as Aduana Stars, Berekum Chelsea, WAFA, Medeama and AshGold were expected to be in the top half of the table putting pressure on the top four clubs.
Aduana Stars have been the most disappointing considering they ended last season on top of the table.
A year later they sit eighth, seven points off the top of the table. The Ogya Boys have been far from inspiring, winning just one game away from home so far.
The over-reliance on Yahaya Mohammed has been more underlined with the striker scoring almost 40% of the club’s goals this season.
For Berekum Chelsea, Medeama and AshGold, it has been a strange case of underperformance. These clubs were expected to be in and around the top 6 but only Medeama courtesy of their recent form are in the top six.
Berekum Chelsea and Medeama started this season poorly and have spent most of the time catching up, hence explaining their deficit of six and four points respectively when comparing their point tally to last season’s.
AshGold enjoyed a very good start to the season losing just one of their first nine games. A downturn in form has seen the Miners pick up just one win in their last seven. Their recent bad patch explains how they have 4 point deficit as compared to last season’s.
WAFA’s away form has prevented the club reaching the extraordinary heights they dream of. Despite not losing at home this season, the Academy Boys have won just one game on the road.
At this point last season, WAFA were three points better off. Their away form was incredible last season with the Sogakope-based club picking 13 points from eight games on their travels.
Contrastingly, Prosper Nartey’s men have just four points from eight away games this season and their fortunes could have been way better had they matched their performances on the road last season.
The two giants Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak both sit just one point worse than they were last season. However, Kotoko are much closer to the top and could climb to the summit if they win their games in hand.
Looking at the trend, the Phobians still look like they are lingering around midtable having dropped from 9th to 10th from last season.
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