The half-time break is usually an opportunity for teams to assess their first half performance and the restrategise.
This same break can either propel a team to reach new heights or can leave a team on free fall.
Quite often, the latter is as a result of a break in momentum, a very pivotal force in performance.
Some teams just want to play, and keep playing. Others need to stop and look back, before playing again.
That has been the story of the Ghana Premier League this season.
The one month break after the first round left some teams refreshed, whilst others just lost thrust and focus.
With half of the second round played, here’s a comparative analysis of which teams benefitted most from the midseason break.
On paper, WAFA have made the most out of the midseason break.
The Academy boys had the form of a bottom half club averaging just over a point per game in the first round.
The Achilles heel of WAFA were their performances on their travels. Throughout the first round, they won just one away game.
Halfway through the second round, and WAFA have already won two away games.
These wins were against very resilient opponents in Berekum Chelsea and Medeama – who both hadn’t lost at home this season before facing WAFA.
The form of Issah Basit who was adjudged player of the month for April coupled with the signing of Justus Torsutsey has catapulted WAFA into the top half of the table.
Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko are the next big gainers from the midseason break.
The two biggest clubs in the country have had very identical seasons. Kotoko winning their game in hand against Bechem United meant both clubs finished level on points after the first round.
Coincidentally, the two clubs lead the way once again in terms of the second round having amassed 19 points each so far.
The pair have gone through significant personnel change with Samuel Boadu and Mariano Baretto stepping in as head coaches ahead of the second round.
Hearts have also had a fairly active second transfer window signing Salifu Ibrahim and Caleb Amankwah.
These new signings have transformed the team remarkably. Amankwah has helped Hearts improve defensively with the Phobians conceding just four goals in the second round – the least by any club.
Ibrahim has dazzled on the other side of the pitch playing crucial roles in the victories against Bechem United and King Faisal.
Similarly, Kotoko’s signings during the break has impacted the Porcupines upfront.
The Reds scored the fourth lowest number of goals in the first round. To make matters worse, their topscorer, Kwame Poku who had scored more than 50% of these goals was sold.
Contrastingly, Baretto’s men now lead the way for goals scored in the second round with 16 – five of which have come from new signings Andy Kumi and Michael Vinicius.
Inter Allies needed to improve drastically if they were to stand a chance of escaping relegation.
The Eleven to One boys have done that in the first half of the second round.
The Accra-based club are almost amassing twice the number of points per game than they were in the first round.
Still six points from safety, there’s more work to be done but the early signs are encouraging.
Inter Allies are also another side that dipped into the market for talents, signing eight new players including former marksman, Samuel Armah.
It comes as no surprise to see Karela United leading the way.
They went into the midseason break top of the table and full of confidence.
In the past 7 years, teams either than Hearts or Kotoko have lifted the league trophy.
Karela looked like that side this year to continue an elongated period of fairytale stories in the Ghana Premier League.
Their aggressive nature and X factor upfront made them genuine title contenders, until the break.
Karela have proved to be a side that thrived purely on momentum. Once that streak was broken with an extended midseason break, the levels dropped.
The sudden lack of aggressiveness and sharpness upfront has moved Karela from being title favorites to having an outside chance.
The lack of sharpness upfront is highlighted in Diawisie Taylor’s dip in form. Taylor scored 12 goals in the first 17 games. However, his subsequent 9 games has seen him score just three goals.
It’s not just about Karela’s marksman, the whole attacking cast have been submerged in the second round with the team scoring just nine goals so far – the fourth lowest in the league.
The performances of Bechem United, Eleven Wonders and Ebusua Dwarfs have also dwindled drastically.
As a result, the trio find themselves in the relegation scrap although Bechem are closer to midtable due to their early season exploits.
For Wonders, it was never going to be easy replacing Ibrahim, the player with the most man of the match awards in the league this season.
His departure has left a void that coach Ignatius Fosu has been struggling to fill.
The Techiman-based side have scored just six goals in nine games in the second round and find themselves rooted in the relegation zone.
Ebusua Dwarfs have the second lowest points in the second round and have been struggling to pick up points.
The problem for Ernest Thompson has been the lack of consistency. His side have failed to win back to back in the second round, picking up more losses than wins.
Perhaps, the home form is one area that needs addressing if Dwarfs are going to stay up.
They have the second worst record in the division and have just won two home games in the second round.
The second round in isolation
The second round is usually the business part of the season where positions are determined.
The two giants, Hearts and Kotoko seem to be finishing strong as initial competitors crumble to pretenders.
It has been an incredible title race, an undulating type with six different teams spending time at the summit.
Bechem United, Olympics, Karela, Medeama, Kotoko and Hearts have all had their share at the top of the table.
With Karela spending the most time at the top, it’s rather surprising to see how badly they were affected by the midseason break.
Olympics have also slumped a bit allowing other teams to catch up.
Medeama’s signing of Ahmed Toure and Prince Opoku Agyemang has sprouted them into a title discussion having flirted with relegation earlier in the season.
For Hearts and Kotoko, the leadership and experience has been evident as both teams look to make this a two-horse title race.
Whatever the case, seasons have never been about how they’re started, it’s always about how they’re ended – attributing to the power and importance of the second round.
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