Barring any unexpected last minute hitches, the highly competitive GN Bank Division One League will kick off this weekend with forty-eight teams divided into three Zones (1,2, and 3), competing for the right to represent their respective zones in the premier division next season.
With Eleven Wonders, Karela FC, and Dreams FC having qualified to the elite division from Zones 1, 2, and 3 last season, the competition is still anticipated to be a keen one, with W. NEA. Salamina, Techiman City, and B. A. United as favorites in Zone One. Bibiani GoldStars, Hasaacas, and New Edubiase remain favorites in Zone 2, while Heart of Lions, Tema Youth, and Vision FC are expected to give Premier League returnees, Accra Gt. Olympics, a run for their money in Zone 3. Not much is known about the newly promoted sides to the Division one tier, but they are all expected to be competitive.
Runner-ups from last season, W. NEA Salamina, one of the favorite teams to win it all, if they can produce the fine form that have seen them fall short two straight years will have the chance to kick-off their season on a winning note as hosts of newly promoted side, Tamale City FC. Not much is known about the Tamale lads, but they will definitely have their hands full against the Wamanafo lads who went undefeated at home last season. Former tier-one side, Techiman City, who will be entering their second year in the wilderness of Division One soccer will also have the chance of starting on a winning note as hosts of newbies, Nkoranza Warriors, and so will Brong Ahafo United, who will have to overcome Steadfast FC away from home.
Bofoakwa FC who started out strongly last year but fell short in the final moments will take on newbies, Gbewaa FC, in a very winnable home opener, and perennial contenders, Real Tamale United will be hoping for a fast start at home against Kitampo FC.
Elsewhere, new entrants, Paga Crocodiles, will look for the edge at home against a veteran Berekum Arsenal side, Glory Stars will duke it out at home with Wa Suntaa SC, while year two side, Unity FC, will have the chance to shut down Young Apostles in their home opener.
GN Bank DOL - Zone One – Match Day 1
Glory Stars vs Wa Suntaa SC
Bofoakwa FC vs Gbewaa FC
Nea Salamina FC vs Tamale City FC
Paga Crocodile FC vs Berekum Arsenal
Real Tamale United vs Kintampo FC
Steadfast FC vs B.A United
Techiman City vs Nkoranza Warriors SC
Unity FC vs Young Apostles FC
In Zone two, the search for a successor to last year’s winners Karela is not going to be an easy one, but a very capable Bibiani GoldStars side will have the chance to start off the season on a winning note at home as hosts of BYFA. Former tier-one side, New Edubiase Stars, who finished last season on a high note will also have the chance to be in the winning column as hosts of newbies, Pacific Heroes FC, and Sekondi Hasaacas, who will be marking their second year in the DOL following their ouster from the Premiership, will have to do well to pick up all 3points on the road against former tier one side, King Faisal FC, who barely survived relegation last season. Definitely not an easy match for Hasaacas as their hosts are determined to make a run.
FC Samartex will have the chance to build on last season’s performance that saw them finish in third place, albeit 24points behind the winners Karela FC, but they will first have to overcome an unpredictable Achiken FC side on the road. And year two side, Unistar Academy, who had a great season last year will have to overcome Nzema Kotoko at home as they look to start the new season on a positive note.
Elsewhere on the weekend, Venomous Vipers, who managed to secure a speedy return to Division One soccer after being relegated the previous season will be on the hunt for the maximum points against newly promoted side, Star Madrid FC. Proud United will be at home to new entrants S. All Blacks Utd, and debut side, Skyy FC will welcome Asokwa Deportivo FC.
GN Bank DOL - Zone Two – Match Day 1
Achiken FC vs FC Samatex
Gold Stars FC vs BYFA
King Faisal FC vs Hasaacas FC
New Edubiase FC vs Pacific Heroes FC
Proud United FC vs S. All Blacks Utd FC
Skyy FC vs Asokwa Deportivo FC
Unistar Academy FC vs Nzema Kotoko FC
Venomous Vipers vs Star Madrid FC
In Zone 3, where the competition is once again expected to be very keen, relegated Accra Gt. Olympics who are putting in their second appearance in the Division in three years will have the chance to commence their campaign on a winning note as they host newly promoted side - Agbozume Weavers, who look for all intent and purposes to be shorthanded for this appearance. Runner-ups from last year, Heart of Lions, whose campaign fell short, will start year three in the DOL as hosts of newly promoted Accra Lions FC side. The veteran Lions who went unbeaten at home last season have the upper hand here. And Vision FC, who saw their steadfast campaign fall short may have to work extra hard to get in the winning column as they open the season on the road as guests of Nania FC.
Following their one and done sojourn in the elite division, Tema Youth will start their return campaign as hosts of Amidaus Professionals who were highly inconsistent in last year’s campaign. Tema Youth definitely have the upper hand at home. Uncle “T” FC will be hoping to pick up where they left off last season as hosts of Young Wise FC.
Elsewhere, DOL year two side, Okyeman Planners, who put in a wishy-washy performance last season, in contrast to their year one performance will have the chance to assure their fans of a better season as they take on Mighty Jets at home, Kotoku Royals will host Danbort FC in a very winnable match, and Sporting Mirren will have all the chance to pick up the full spoils in their home opener against newbies, Akosombo krystal Palace FC.
GN Bank DOL - Zone Three – Match Day 1
Gt. Olympics FC vs Agbozume Weavers
Heart of Lions vs Accra Lions FC
Kotoku Royals vs Danbort FC
Nania FC vs Vision FC
Okyeman Planners vs Mighty Jets
Sporting Mirren FC vs Akosombo Krystal Palace FC
Tema Youth vs Amidaus Profs
Uncle “T” FC vs Young Wise FC