Who will be relegated this season?
The race for Premier League little appears to be between three teams: WAFA, Aduana Stars and Accra Hearts of Oak. However, with six games to end the 2017 season, the real action in the Premier League seems to be happening at the other end of the table.
GPL clubs are expected to receive improved merit money- the amount paid clubs for their position at the end of the season, following StarTimes US$19 million ten-year TV right deal with the Ghana Football Association, thus making it one of the lucrative seasons in recent times.
Hence, the cost of relegation from the Premier League is truly high, and this drives the race to avoid the drop. But what teams are set to face the relegation this season?
Bolga All Stars
Bolga All Stars’ troubles began from the onset of their maiden Premier League campaign. Being the first team from the Upper East Region to play in the league, football fans from that part of the country who have longed for Premier League action at their doorstep were disappointed when the Premier League Board deemed the Bolga Stadium as not fit enough to host matches, thus leading to the team's adoption of the Tamale Utrecht Park in the Northern Region as their home grounds.
As historic as their campaign in the league is, financial crisis as well as moving from their traditional home to Tamale, has made their debut campaign one of the worst ever seen the in Ghana top-flight.
Since match-day three, Bolga All Stars has remained rooted to the bottom of the league table.
Out of the 24 matches played thus far, they have won only two, drawn six and lost 16, earning them a total of 12 points. Their struggles are further compounded by a leaky defense, which has seen them concede 56 goals against the 15 they scored, making their chances of survival slimmer, even if they do put up a fight of some sort in the last six games.
Of all the teams that could go down, Bolga All Stars looks the most likeliest.
Accra Great Olympics
No team in the league is able to attract the sort of publicity that Accra Great Olympics does – whether negative or positive. Their season begun within several fairytales about how the club’s old players played key roles in their return to their Premier League and how the team has learned from its troubled seasons in the past.
And indeed, their first few games actually depicted a new Great Olympics which was ready to rise up and do battle with city rivals Accra Hearts of Oak. But getting to the latter part of the first half round of the season, things starting heating up, and their young Coach Godwin Attram, a former player, who had captured attention with his coach com player role, begun feeling heat more than any other.
Subsequently, series of bad results saw Attram been demoted, with Swede Coach Tom Strand taking over at the helm of the team.
At some point, the owners of the team appeared to have been vindicated in their decision to appoint Strand, however, that decision has made very little impact in the club’s fortunes with just six matches to end the season.
The Oly Dade, Oly Rosalinda as they nicknamed, are currently staring at relegation with 26 points from a possible 72, and second from bottom on the league log at the moment. Mathematically, they still stand a good chance of staying up but that is based on the assumption that the teams above would lose points.
The question of Accra Great Olympics staying up or going down as they do often, remains entirely in their hands because they are a team capable of both the spectacular and the catastrophic.
One of the surprise packages of this season for want of a better description is AshGold. Their struggle against relegation has surprised bookmakers.
As one of the most successful clubs with four Premier Leagues, many were expecting the Obuasi-based side to at least put a fight for the league title and not the other way round.
Fans will be disappointed at the club deciding to sack Bashiru Hayford after many good years, as new Coach C. K. Akunor has done little to help revive the campaign. Even though AshGold went through a period of excellent form immediately after the arrival of C. K. Akunnor, confidence has been eroded by a run of two defeats in the last two league matches.
AshGold have picked 28 points from 23 games, leaving them 14th in the league standings, with an outstanding game against high flying WAFA.
They look like a team that has all the quality to survive, but four of the their remaining seven games are against WAFA, Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Berekum Chelsea and Aduana Stars. This alone makes the task of avoiding relegation daunting indeed.
Other teams also in danger of slipping into the relegation zone include Tema Youth and Liberty Professionals who are occupying 13 and 12 positions with 28 and 29 points respectively. Mathematically, Inter Allies and defending champions Wa All Stars who are both tied on 32 points are also not safe.
The league is currently on a month-long break until 26 of August. This might give the struggling clubs much needed break to strategize for the remaining games.