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GHPL 17/18: The ‘Trophy-Shy Coaches’ League As Only One Local Gaffer, Foreigner Has Won Major Title

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Football is the breath of Ghanaians. Take it out of their lives and most local football fans will have a boring weekend.

If that’s a fluke, the West African nation’s ten regions all have teams that have featured in the league for the last 10 years. In the current season, there’s even a region that boasts of the most number of teams in the league. Brong Ahafo region!

Check out the list of teams in the GHPL per region

Brong Ahafo: Aduana Stars, Berekum Chelsea, Bechem United, Techiman Eleven Wonders.

Greater Accra: Hearts of Oak, Liberty Professionals, Inter Allies.

Ashanti: Ashantigold, Asante Kotoko.

Western: Medeama,  Karela United.

Central: Ebusua Dwarfs, Elmina Sharks.

Eastern: Dreams FC.

Volta: Wafa SC.

Upper West: Wa All Stars

The 2017/18 Ghana Premier League, before it’s suspension, was a delight to watch. Skill, foreign player quality, euphoria

After the first round, Medeama SC were riding high with 26 points and were eager to complete the season as league winners with a rookie coach, Samuel Boadu. A former gaffer at a Division two side, Shooting Stars.

They were closely followed by Ashantigold SC, who after battling a relegation scare the previous season, met their saviour in Charles Akonnor who guided the Miners from Division One football and was lying second on the log.

Akonnor, a former Eleven Wise, Hearts of Oak, Dreams tactician has experience, but not the league title experience.

After round one, the Ghana league found two ‘title rookies’ at the top of the league. Out of the 16 clubs, only one has the title under his belt; Enos Kwame Adepa of Techiman Eleven Wonders.

It’s worth noting that most sides will dream of securing the league title. But how’s that possible?

Quality squad, resolute defence, potent forward line, strong home record and a coach – not any kind but rather a title winning tactician. So why are most teams clamouring for the crown without a title winning coach in Ghana or any other nation?

Sportsnewsgh takes a look at the coaches of clubs in the Ghana Premier League.

Currently in the top flight, fourteen clubs have got coaches. The other two(Aduana Stars and Ebusua Dwarfs).

Eleven Wonders: Enos Kwame Adepa won the Ghana Premier League title with Upper West side Wa All Stars in his first season after joining them from first division side King Solomon. And it’s shocking to see Adepa as the only coach currently in the league with the premiership trophy.

Placed in the middle of the log, the Techiman based side might not claim the league but has a gaffer who can ensure them a title in the next two seasons if things are structured well and there’s trust in the manager.

Asante Kotoko: They are the club with most league titles and they went in for former Ashgold coach C.K .Akonnor. Another known coach who has never chalked success in the top flight.

The Porcupines aim at conquering Africa within the shortest possible time but with a coach who has never coached in Africa competitions. A two-time Caf Champions Leage winner who has targeted a revival in African competitions opted for a coach without any league title and not to even mention an African title.

With C.K, only a miracle will help them secure the Caf Confederation Cup title this season.

Signing top coaches from Africa and Europe should be Kotoko’s next aim.

AS Vita’s Florent Ibenge said he loves Ghana. Sundowns Pitso Mosimane will join if the offer is good as well as other former gaffers like Ernst Middendorp.

You pay big to win big or you simply close the chapter.

Hearts of Oak: Seth Hoffman took over from his boss Henry Wellington. After losing in friendlies against Kotoko and other clubs, fans have pleaded with management to appoint a new coach.

This is Hearts of Oak of the late Sir Cecil Jones Attuquayefio.You don’t need a soothsayer to tell you the Phobians need a top coach to save them from their misery.

Such a big club in Ghana might need a top level technical handler from the top sides in Africa or Europe to guide them. Not the Hoffmans and the the trophy “shymans.”

Ashantigold: The Miners appointed Technical Director John Christiansen after sacking C.K Akonnor.

Christiansen, who is professional teacher, holds a UEFA License A coaching certificate and trains coaches for the Danish FA.

Ashgold won the league in 2015 with Bashiru Hayford, a former winner with Asante Kotoko. They are four-time winners and Christiansen might not be the ideal title winner since the club’s management are not interested in claiming the league trophy.

The thought of appointing a title winner to manage a title winning club is what most fans expect. But does the Danish man has that experience? No!

Inter Allies: The Greater Accra side appointed their Ex assistant coach Rashid Iddi after Japanese Kenichi Yatsuhashi’s departure.

Allies are only focused on remaining in the league and doing player transfer business. They ain’t your ideal title winning side. It will just be a miracle to see them close in on the FA cup or League.

Medeama: Samuel Boadu leads the league log in his first season. His side plays eye-pleasing football and he demands energy till the end. Medema’s top hierarchy has no title targets this season.

In a bid to play in Africa once again, Boadu will have to further prove to his employers why they shouldn’t go in for title winners.

They have succeeded, they know what they have to do when it comes to winning titles and they know they have gambled on the former Shooting Stars coach.
For now, it’s looking positive but the Yellow and Mauves won’t hesitate to appoint a much experienced man.

WAFA SC: French man Patrick Liewig was named as the new head coach of WAFA after Klaus Rausmussen resigned due to personal reasons.

Leiwig? Now that’s a title-winning coach. The French man won three consecutive Ivorian Ligue 1 titles between 2004 and 2006.

The bigger sides eager to win titles will be snatching Wafa’s coach if any opportunity arrives. An ambitious side wants such brains.

The 67-year-old has also coached Tunisia sides Stade Tunisien, Club Africain and d’EGS Gafsa and also l’MC Alger of Algeria.

His last job was at Tanzanian top-flight side Simba SC.

Dreams: Juha Pasoja took over from Abdul Karim Zito in the mid-stages of the season. But who’s Pasoja?

A Finnish coach whose only managerial stint is at JJK Jyvaskyla, a second-flight team in Finland. The 41-year-old gaffer managed the Foxes from 2013 – 2018.

The Believers have said their aim is to finish in the top-four of the league. That matches the quality of Juha.

So for any Dreams fan, especially Dancehall musician Jupitar, when you dream of the league, envisage a title winning coach from Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa even Egypt or Eastern Europe since your club has fine relationships there.

Liberty Professionals: Youth coach Reginald Asante Boateng was appointed first team handler at the beginning of the season. The Dansoman based side are struggling to exit the relegation zone.

The last time Liberty won a major trophy was the year of “there’s no last time.” They were once a top-four side during the days of the late Aljaji Sly Tetteh as owner. Now, it has been relegation battle after relegation battle.

Most pundits believe they will end up in Division One this season. Another case of an Inexperienced gaffer.

Bechem United: The last time the Hunters won a major trophy was in 2016 – the FA cup with Manuel Zacharias. He left the club due to disagreemets with the management of the side.

Bechem are noted for hiring foreigners. But this season, they are in with an inexperienced Cobby Mensah. Hi there, Google might even fail you here if you think I just mentioned a top gaffer.

They are just not thinking of a title this season.

Karela United: The newly promoted side maintained their head coach Johnson Smith to lead the team in their debut campaign. They acquired former league winners, Emmanuel Osei Baffour, Godfred Saka, Ismail Ganiu, Maxwell Baako and others.

Before the break, they were in the top four of the league and were a delight at their CAM Park.

Smith has got an enviable CV in Ghana having assisted many Premier League coaches but has never won the league as the main man in the dugout.

Reports at the early stages of the season claimed the former Berekum Arsenals coach was on the verge of a sack. Reason? Poor results.

The league is a six-month marathon that demands concentration, technical quality and experience. Yes, experience if you want to win the trophy. Smith will need Karela to make a strong statement to the bigger sides. Till then, week 20 – 30 of the league season usually separates the big coaches from the smaller ones, especially when it’s about the relegation battle.

Therefore, if same can be said in league survivals, why can’t we make a same claim for the top of the league. The Passioners’ gaffer is a fine technical brain but a league winner understands the dynamics better.

Berekum Chelsea: The one-time League champions have maintained their assistant coach Raindolph Armah who worked under several coaches at the club. So far, the gaffer has fared average at the side.

When the Blues claimed the ultimate in 2011, they had Orlando Wellington, a first time league winner. But for a club eager to repeat such glory, a former league winner can get them close, once again.

Chelsea are a strong side at home and that’s almost what they need to win titles. The club has title experience and the coach has league experience. Does not seem enough if you look at the stronger sides in the league?

Elmina Sharks: Former Black Stars player Yaw Acheampong was a delight to watch during his playing days at Ashantigold. The gaffer went on to become the coach of the Miners but was sacked due to poor results.

Talk of title experience as a coach and there’s none. Sharks are a new club with a wonderful project. Bankroller Papa Kwesi Nduom is eager to play in Africa soon. But that’s legitimate if only the Elmina based side win the league or the FA Cup.

Yaw Acheampong has not even played in the finals of cup nor placed second on the log.

Wa All Stars: Osei Castro was hired as the new coach of the 2015/16 league winners after the sacking of Alhaji Sopkari Believer. A known coach he is for his time at Okwahu United.

Castro has no experience in terms of the Ghana league title nir even a top four finish. A former league champion opting for a trophy-shy coach.

So that’s it! Abdul Razak, Bashiru Hayford, Orlando Wellington, Did Dramani, Maxwell Konadu among other winners outside Africa are still available.

It’s true; experience comes with time. But an ambitious club chases a coach with a real CV.

A rich CV in terms of coaches will certainly have titles. Top sides sign quality and not mediocre in achieving greater heights.

Such moves further uplift the level and hype of the local league if we want to see quality football on our turfs. Good luck to the Normalization Committee and long live Ghana football.

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