31
Sat, Oct

GPL Notes

  • Several of the nation’s premier league teams marked the weekend with thrilling matches that boosted the appetite of starving local fans as they continue to await the start of the 2015/16 GPL season set for February 20th.

  • With just a week to the start of the much delayed 2015/16 Premier League season, the management of all 16 teams are keeping busy, finalizing their on and off field preparations with the unveiling of newly signed players, friendly matches to test the readiness of their soccer pitches or just to stay in shape in their bid to hit the ‘field running’ and capture the coveted league title.

  • Elsewhere on the day, Liberty Professionals survived the scare at home as they came from two goals down to divvy the spoils with Legon Cities FC

    As expected, the highly anticipated 2019/20 Ghana Premier League season kicked off yesterday with several teams and players showing no effects of the long layoff and pulling some incredible feats away from home.


  • Ghana Premier League 2015/16 top-four side, Accra Hearts of Oak, have set their focus on signing Godfred Kwadwo Asamoah of Division One side Heart of Lions.


    The 19 year old 5ft 6 inches tall left back and attacking midfielder played 30 out of 30 matches for the Kpando based Lions club who will be spending year two in the Division One league after coming up short in the just ended Division one, Zone three league. He scored 3 goals, assisted with the scoring of 4 and won 5 Most Valuable Player awards in the course of the season. He is an adept left footed player, very aggressive and strong on the ball, with accurate passing skills and fairly capable in front of goal. The Phobians are hoping that his creative skills will boost their defense, midfield as well as create goal scoring opportunities upfront.

    The ‘Rainbow Club’ has denied recent media reports of Inter-Allies’ free-kick goal scoring specialist Gockel Ahortor. The club’s search for a permanent coach to take over following the canning of fan favorite coach – Kenichi Yatsuhashi and the unsuccessful tenure of Sergio Traguil also continues with many fans waiting on the sidelines to see who gets the eventual nod for the job.

    Newly promoted Division One side, Elmina Sharks, are looking to strengthen the squad that earned them promotion to tier-one soccer and have reportedly signed Liberty Professionals forward Felix Addo and shot stopper Francis Arthur to 3year deals. Free agent Anthony Yerful who last played for AshantiGold has also joined the Elmina based side.


    Meanwhile, work on upgrading the pitch to an artificial surface at the Sharks home base - The Nduom Sports Stadium in Elmina, Cape Coast - has commenced with more promises and changes in the pipeline by the team’s owner and financier – Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom – as he looks to strengthen the various units of the team to ensure his team’s permanent stay in the elite division.

    New signings and acquisitions this off-season has started slowly for most clubs but an uptick in activity is expected as teams look to prepare for the new season.

    Bolga All Stars, Elmina Sharks and Accra Great Olympics are this year’s new entrants to the Premier League division.


  • With the GHALCA Six tourney over and the emergence of Aduana Stars as the 2016 Champions, Hearts of Oak as runner-up and Kumasi Asante Kotoko as bronze winners, preseason activities and new player signings will continue to remain the focus of the GPL teams and fans as we await the release of the 2016/17 schedule and the start of the new season.

    For many Accra Hearts of Oak fans, their darling club’s quest to end the 8 year GPL title drought still remains grim given the Rainbow club’s performance at the just ended G6 tourney where they failed to win a single game in regulation time despite making it to the final with a lone goal loss to Aduana Stars, a tie against Medeama SC at the group stage before edging rivals Asante Kotoko 6-5 on penalty kicks.

    As a result, Assistant coach, Henry Lamptey Wellington, who is running the clubs preseason training in the absence of a head coach has reportedly bemoaned the lack of strikers on the current squad and called for at least two new additional strikers to beef up the team.

    Meanwhile, the capital based club’s bid to fill their vacant head coaching position remains protracted with management tight-lipped on any progress in that direction. News from the grapevine however has management torn between appointing a local coach or a foreign coach with former Aduana Stars boss, Cioba Aristica, who has a firm grasp of the local soccer scene and former Rwanda and Sierra Leone trainer Johnny McKinstry reportedly applying for the job. Earlier reports linking former Kotoko boss – Mas-Ud Dramani to the job has failed to pan out thus far. Hearts are also reportedly keeping an eye on defensive midfielder – Kwadwo Poku – from the camp of their bitter rivals for a possible signing following multiple reports that his contract has been terminated by the Reds.

    For now, interim head coach - Michael Osei - remains in charge of the Porcupine Warriors with the new management headed by Dr. Kwame Kyei still mum on the vacant head coaching position despite earlier reports on the possibility of Danish Coach Tommy Moller Nielsen taking over the job.

    Michael Osei’s chances of landing the head coaching role remains a bit shaky despite putting in a decent performance after taking over as the interim coach under the previous administration headed by former Kotoko star player Opoku Nti, and the team’s inability to make it to the finals for a possible repeat at the just ended GHALCA 6 tournament can affect his stock to the new administration. A recent comment by Samuel Kyere, a player whose current status on the team is a bit uncertain that sought to question his coaching competency can also end up being a distraction for him as far as the vacant position goes. His experience and tenure at the club can definitely play to his advantage come clutch time.

    In other news, Hearts of Oak’s Portuguese Youth team coach - Sergio Traguil - who was once hailed as the replacement for then fan favorite coach – Kenichi Yatsuhashi may likely be canned following the demotion of Auroras from Division 2 to Division 3 soccer, Dansoman based Liberty Professionals will miss the services of prolific midfielder and goal scorer – Latif Blessing – who is bound for a yet to be named South African Premier Soccer League side, Daniel Agyei – Ghana and ex Liberty Professionals goalie has signed a one year deal with Tanzanian giant side - FC Simba, ex AshGold captain – Eric Owusu who led AshGold to the 2014/15 GPL title and also won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) that season has joined the Kuwaiti Viva League after signing a 2 year contract with Al Nasr, and 2015/16 GN Bank Division One Zone two runner-up side – Karela FC edged Medeama SC by a lone goal in their weekend friendly.

     


    © ABENA ALICE/MYGHANALINKS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

     


  • Management of Accra Hearts of Oak have refuted recent media reports that they are close to naming former two time Ghana Premier League Title and MTN FA Cup winning coach of Asante Kotoko – Mas-Ud Dramani as the club’s new Head Coach.

    The ‘rainbow cladded’ capital based club have been without a substantive head coach following the canning of Japanese American coach - Kenichi Yatsuhashi – this past June, the unsuccessful two month stint at the helm by Portuguese trainer, Sergio Traguil, and the handing over of the reins to Assistant – Yaw Preko – to see the club through the last couple of games to close out the 2015/16 GPL season.

    The source of the denial of an impending signing of Mas-Ud Dramani is the club’s Communication Director – Kwame Opare Addo – who had this to say in an exclusive interview with Cape Coast based ATL FM.

    “Hearts is expected to announce the new head coach of the club within the shortest possible time so we are still searching for a competent coach to guide the club for the upcoming season and this work has been assigned to a committee and this committee has not yet released any name out so whatever name you hear in the public is absolutely false.’’

    The Phobians are presently being taken through their preseason paces by newly signed Assistant Coach – Henry Lamptey Wellington – and have made it through to the semi-finals stage of the ongoing GHALCA 6 tourney following a loss and a tie in their first two matches.

    The Phobians are currently focused on playing archrivals Asante Kotoko this Sunday in the ongoing G6 tourney.

    In line with that, they played a double (a two-part 60 minute friendly) with Division 2 side – Vision Explorers Soccer Academy (VESA) – and won by an aggregate of three goals to one at the Pantang Vision Explorers Stadium.

    First half goals from Maxwell Boakye and Bernard Dong Bortey in the first game gave the Phobians a 2-1 win, and Kwame Kizito’s lone strike was the difference maker in the second game.

    The friendly also saw the debut of Hearts of Oak’s recent signing – Malik Akowuah – in Hearts of Oak of colors. His move to Hearts from Medeama SC had being marred with some uncertainty following alleged claims from the latter that it wasn’t a done deal.

    A Hearts of Oak match report on the game had lofty praise for clubs biggest signing thus far.
    ''The Hearts marquee signing slotted seamlessly at the heart of the Hearts midfield controlling and dictating play for the Phobians as they brushed aside the Division 2 side.

    ''Akowuah signed for Hearts in the first week of November but filibustering from his former side Medeama meant he had to wait for a few days to play his first game for Hearts.

    ''The experienced midfielder did not need time to adjust or settle in his new surroundings as he nonchalantly dictated play against the lower league side on his first start. He could have got an assist on the day but for Maxwell Boakye's rushed strike after latching on a tailor-made pass from the midfield metronome.

    ''Akowuah looked a relieved and happy man in Hearts colors and we pray he continues to smile whilst hurting the opposition for us in every game.''

    According to the report, he played for an hour in the game.

    Veteran winger Bernard Don Bortey who has had stints with Hearts of Oak, Aduana Stars and New Edubiase on the local scene highlighted a likely return to the GPL scenery with a goal from the spot, converting at the 24th minute mark to add his name to the scoresheet.

    Bernard Don Bortey remains on the list of ‘yet to be signed’ players of Accra Hearts of Oak players for the impending 2016/17 season and has sought to damp down concerns over his age, saying…

    “I can continue playing for the next ten years. Look at me it’s still the same old Don Bortey,” Bortey said

    ‘”Some people learn how to play football while others are gifted I am gifted.”

    In a brief message to the Phobian fraternity in an interview clip posted on Twitter, Bortey requested Hearts of Oak fans to pray for him to get strong, “…Dong Bortey is back…” He assured fans of a goal against Kotoko in Sunday’s G6 tourney should he be featured in the game.

    “Unless the coach doesn’t take me to Kumasi. If the coach takes me I will score them. They are my girlfriend,” he said after the game.

    The 35 year old versatile winger with 9 goals to his credit from 27 international outings for Ghana and last played for Swedish Division 2 side – Ange IF in 2015.

     

    He first moved to Hearts in 2001 from Tema GHAPOHA.


  • Manuel Zacharias, coach of Ghana Premier League side, Bechem United, has indicated that he may not be available for the club come next season.
     
    Manuel Zacharias guided Bechem United to their first ever MTN FA Cup this year and also orchestrated the club’s rise from the relegation zone midway through the just ended PL season to the seventh spot.

    He made the confirmation to Graphic Sports recently, saying he is still weighing his options and could therefore not tell whether he would still manage the FA Cup champions next season.

    “I don’t know whether I will still be at Bechem or not next season but if I get any good offer from any club I am ready to leave,” he stated. He also said he wanted visit his family back home and is unsure of his return.

    He has one more year left on his contract with Bechem Utd, and could not give a cogent reason for wanting to leave the club he helped to elevate and why he wants to leave a place where he seems very much beloved by the community.

    Sources close to the club however hinted that his Guinean girlfriend wasn’t too comfortable with life in the countryside (Bechem, Brong Ahafo Region) and was therefore putting pressure on the coach to look for a club in the city to enable them to relocate.

    “That is why he is forcing to come to Accra Hearts of Oak just to enable him to stay in the city and please his girlfriend who feels disgusted by life in the village,” the source noted.

    But the CEO of the club, Kwasi Darlyn, insisted that Zacharias was still the coach of Bechem United but they were ready to allow him to go once he expresses the desire to leave.

    He added that the club had not taken any decision to fire Coach Zacharias but if he decides to part ways with the club they would not put any impediment in his way.

    Kumasi Asante Kotoko have indicated that veteran midfielder Stephen Oduro remains a crucial part of their plans for the upcoming season, but they failed to define what his exact role with the club will be.

    The response from the club comes in the wake of Oduro’s revelation on Kumasi based Fox FM that interim coach Michael Osei had informed him via a phone conversation that his services would not be needed by the club in the upcoming season.

    The statement from the club read:

    ''The attention of Asante Kotoko Sporting Club has been drawn to comments made by midfielder, Stephen Oduro during an interview with a Kumasi based radio station.

    ''Management, is by this press release attesting to the fact that, players of Stephen Oduro's calibre, who have displayed absolute dedication to local clubs are a rare commodity in Ghana football these days.

    ''That explains the reason this particular management brought him back to the club when we assumed office three seasons ago. For the avoidance of doubt, management states categorically that, we have not arrived at a definite decision on the future of Stephen Oduro whose contract has expired.

    ''We wish to add that, management and the technical team will engage the midfielder in every step of the way in discussing his future at Kotoko so that, Stephen Oduro and Kotoko benefit mutually. Accusations and counter accusations in public is certainly not the way to go.''

    The Porcupine Warriors have meanwhile rescheduled the start of pre-season activities to 24 October following a management and technical team review. The club had earlier set 12th October as the start date to give them ample time to prepare for next month’s G6 Tournament.

    ''They are now coming back to training on October 24, 2016,'' Kotoko Communication Manager Kwaku Ahenkorah said.

    ''The purpose of the team's return to training at this time hasn’t changed. It’s to ensure that they prepare and stay in shape for the G-6 which kicks off on November 5, 2016.''


    Abena Alice with news wires


  • Multiple reports from the camp of Kumasi Asante Kotoko seem to indicate that interim Head Coach of the club – Michael Osei – may have his job on the line as the Porcupine Warriors look to rediscover their former glory under newly appointed Executive Chairman, Dr. Kwame Kyei.

    Dr. Kwame Kyei, a respected businessman was recently appointed to a three year term by His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, owner and life patron of the club and has been tasked with reshaping the club’s administrative structure and infusing professionalism and competence into all facets of the club’s operation.

    In the wake of his appointment, a massive reorganization exercise is expected to hit the club just before the start of the 2016/17 Premier League season as he looks to appoint his own trusted lieutenants who can get the job done.

    "I want to develop this club to a high level" he told supporters in Kumasi on Monday.

    "I’ve a lot in store for you. You will all marvel at what is to come. I don’t want to reveal all of them but I promise, you will feel proud being here if everything goes as planned"

    And the interim head coach of the club could well be a victim as the new management looks to permanently fill the head coaching position following the failure of the last administration to show their full confidence in Michael Osei by offering him the job after the axing of then Head Coach, David Duncan, who had a torrid start to the 2015/16 PL season.

    Michael Osei, who has a wealth of coaching experience and strong ties with the club as a former player led Kotoko to a fifth placed finish with a record of 1 win, 1 loss and 3 ties to close out the last five games of the season.

    Meanwhile, Michael Osei is guiding the team through the pre-season and has gotten his side off to a good start - a 3-0 win over Bechem Utd - in the ongoing GHALCA 6 (G6) tournament featuring the top six PL teams from last season.

    In a related development to the vacant Head Coaching job at Asante Kotoko, multiple media houses have reported that the team is looking to fill the spot with an ideal expatriate coach who has the technical competence to man the team’s activities on and off the field of play.

    According to information in the Ghanaian media, the Kumasi based club are looking at expatriate coaches who they see as idle and capable of directing the club technically. In line with this, the team has reportedly contacted Danish trainer Tommy Moller Nielsen over the probability of taking over from Michael Osei.

    The new kotoko management has allegedly been in touch with him and he is expected to be in the country before the end of this month to sign on with the club.

    Unconfirmed reports also have it that, the former three-season tenured Rangers FC first team Coach was in Kumasi last year under the sponsorship of Dr. Kwaku Frimpong, a major backer and financier of the club.

    The Danish trainer recently signed up as the Scandinavian scout for Manchester United’s current Boss, Jose Mourinho. His last managerial position was with HB Koge following his succession to Aurelijus Skarbalius in October of 2011 but was relieved of the position in September 2012 following a disastrous start to the 2012-13 season.

    Michael Osei’s stay at the club as an assistant given his experience and work with the players is a possibility.

    For now, proceedings at the club are expected to be fluid as Dr. Kyei begins work on constituting his new administrative and technical staff.

  • Given the uncertainty and rust that has enveloped players and football administrators in the country for a while now, it’s uncertain what to expect come Sunday, but ...

    The long-awaited return of the Ghana Premier League following its suspension in July of 2018 under the Chairmanship of Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi is upon us. Come tomorrow, avid soccer fans will have a serving of what the revitalized Ghana FA and Ghana football in general will look like under new boss, Mr. Kurt Okraku, who was recently elected into office to reshape and rebrand an Association that has a lot catching up to do; domestically and internationally.

  • A tantalizing clash between old regional foes, who for now look to be headed in different directions although both were losers this past weekend:

    There won’t be much rest for the weary nor enough time for struggling teams to mull things over in the Ghana Premier League as Week Three beckons this midweek with loads of excitement on the schedule, as Accra Hearts of Oak look to turn their season around as guests of Ebusua Dwarfs, and Champions Aduana Stars clash with runner-ups from last year, WAFA.

  • With two of the GPL teams engaged in continental assignments on the day and Accra Hearts of Oak set to take on Inter Allies on Monday, the 2016/17 Ghana Premier League season kicked off today as expected with Cape Coast Mysterious Ebusua Dwarfs registering the first goal of the season and eventually overpowering neophytes – Bolga All Stars – by a 3-1 score line for the PL summit.

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