Another exciting Ghana Premier League season has been climaxed with Wa All-stars winning the Ghana Premier League for the first time in their history against all odds with a game to spare, while New Edubiase United, Sekondi Hasaacas and Techiman City FC were relegated to Division One.
We digest which teams impressed during the season to book their tickets to the off season top 4 competition and which teams didn’t survive the relegation battle in the 8-month long league season.
1.Wa All stars
Wa All stars were worthy champions as they were one of the few teams that showed glimpses of a title winning performances, setting the pace from the opening games with flair, but were always seen as outsiders by connoisseurs of the Ghanaian league to clinch the title because when the teams that were earmarked to win the title busy competing in the GHALCA G6 tourney, they were quietly putting sharp edges to the side with friendly games every other two days against lower division sides before they travelled to Saudi Arabia to test themselves against teams that were well in the middle of their season. The highlight of their season was the 3 nil defeat they inflicted on Hearts of Oak at the Accra sports stadium. They finished the season as the team to concede fewer goals (18), and also the team to finish with most wins (15).
One of the teams to have been earmarked as a possible contender for the league title, but with a shambolic pre-season and off field problems with key players especially earlier in the season as there was even a worry at one stage that they would not make the top four until the arrival of coach Cioiba Aristica, who worked fervently to turn the tide of their ailing season, but by then Wa All stars and Hearts of Oak had already taken hold of the first two position at the top of the log. And they did manage to crawl back with a winning run to finish the season in 2nd position.
3.Hearts of Oak
Many people believe Hearts of Oak should have won the league instead of Wa All stars for their scintillating first round display under Kenichi Yatsuhashi, but football league title is not won after first round because it’s a marathon. Hearts of Oak form in the league tailed off after untimely sacking the Japanese tactician, as by the time of his dismissal they were the only team have picked at least a point on their travels. Their form in the league tailed off drastically following the appointment of Sergio Traguil in the second round, and at a point they were in danger of missing out on top four spot, but eventually finished with 48 points.
Another team touted as favourite to annex the title prior the start of the league. At no stage Medeama Sc were they relevant in the league title pursuit, especially after the brouhaha surrounding the then coach, Tom Strand. And also, their engagement in the CAF Confederations Cup did not help matters as they were always lacking behind in terms of momentum in the run in to the league title and by the time decided to put their house in order, the title was well beyond their reach. They however recovered from the early setbacks to place a respectable 4th position with 46 points.
On the relegation front
Having qualified to the premier league from Division One zone 1, Techiman City early season form suggested they are were in the league to stay as they turned the Ohene Ameyaw Park a fortress in the first round of the season. They chucked impressive victories against teams like Medeama and Berekum Chelsea, but as the going got tough in the second round and they started playing draws at their home ground, that’s where they really the pressure of facing the drop. However, they thought they were edging to safety after winning a protest they lodged against New Edubiase, but it was a false dawn and they were back in trouble following defeats to Aduana and Dreams FC. They heard back to Division One on 14th position with 37 points.
After three years in the top flight league, the giants from the west have tasted demotion once again in the history in what to many advocates of the league, was no surprise due to lack of proper pre-season training and transfer activity. And with their off field problems prompted the bookmakers to earmark them as one of the candidates to go down. They never recovered from the early season setback as they ended the season in lowly 15 spot with 37 points.
16.New Edubiase United
New Edubiase bids farewell to the league they’ve been associated to for the past nine years. After selling most of their key players that helped the club survived relegation in the 2015 season, they never adequately replaced them with quality players, many believed that caused them dearly as they occupied the bottom of the log for the large part of the season. Having won only two matches in the first round, they had no chance of escaping the drop.