Why it is taking fewer points to win the GPL
Over the past decade and beyond, so many questions have been asked about the quality of the Ghana Premier League (GPL), with many wondering if the quality of the local league is diminishing, or increasing.
BFT Weekend takes a look at the number of points clubs have used to win the GPL in the last 16 years, and to establish whether this has anything to do with the quality of the domestic league.
Starting from the year 2000, Accra Hearts of Oak won the league with 57 points after 30 matches with some of the greatest names in the club's history such as Amankwa Mireku, Emmanuel Osei Kuffour and Ishmael Addo among others. The second place team was Obuasi Goldfields with 52 points, while King Faisal Babies, Liberty Professionals and Asante Kotoko completed the top five places for that season.
However, in the ensuing 2001 and 2002 seasons, Accra Hearts again won the league title, but with an improved 64 points and 78 points respectively.
Interestingly, the points accumulated by Hearts in 2002, remains the highest to date by any league winner since the year 2000. Even the team which finished second --- Asante Kotoko, accumulated one of its highest of 73 points in the 2002 season.
Coached by Herbert Addo, the Hearts of Oak squad that won the league in 2002, is considered the best side in the league’s history. Some of the notable names who played key roles that season included Charles Taylor and Dong Bortey
Kumasi Asante Kotoko reclaimed the GPL title from Accra Hearts in 2003, with an impressive 75 points from 30 games, with key players like Charles Taylor, who was poached from arch-rivals Accra Hearts. In that season, the top five was completed by Hearts of Oak, King Faisal Babies, Liberty Professionals and Berekum Arsenal.
In 2004, something sad occurred, as the league was marred by litigation and after several months of waiting, the national Premier League finally kicked off, but with a different format. Instead of a single national league, the GFA devised and organised a novelty league on Zonal basis because of time constraints.
As a result, the 16 premier league clubs had to be divided into two groups based on their geographical locations, which denied the league of the much-desired excitement. Accra Hearts won the league that season after defeating Kotoko in the play-offs at Cape Coast.
After that sad episode in 2004, no Premier League team has ever been able to reach the 70-point mark in a season. The closest a team came was in 2007 and 2008, when Kotoko won the title with 69 points on both occasions.
For instance, in 2005 Fabulous Asante Kotoko again claimed the title with 63 points whilst in the following season, Accra Hearts also won the trophy with even a meagre 58 points.
As already been stated, in 2007 and 2008, Kotoko won the league with 69 points. However, from 2005 to date, the only time a team cross the 60-point mark was in the 2011/2012 season. Kotoko was able to accumulate a total of 63 from a possible 90 points after 30 games in the 2012 Glo Ghana Premier League.
In the 2008/2009 league season, Accra Hearts once again reigned supreme as they won the domestic title with 52 points.
Interestingly, the ensuing 2009/2010 season was not any different from the previous one, except for the fact that both Aduana Stars and Ashanti Gold finished joint-top on 53 points, but Aduana were eventually declared winners of the league as a result of face-to-face advantage over Ash-Gold. Also, in the following season, Bechem Chelsea, now Berekum Chelsea finished the season on 57 points to claim the title with notable names such as Emmanuel Clottey.
It appears that as the years go by, the number of number points used to win the league dropped, and kept swinging within the 50 mark range.
From 2012/2013 to 2013/2014 season, Kumasi Asante Kotoko won both years with 56 and 55 points respectively, while Ashanti Gold won the 2014/2015 edition after finishing the season with 52 points, with Aduana Stars in second place while Berekum Chelsea, Hearts of Oak and Liberty Professional placed third, fourth and fifth position respectively.
The league reached its lowest point in the past 16 years last season, with Wa Allstars claiming the title with 51 points from a possible 90 after 30 matches.