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05.11.2002 Football News

League cruises to dramatic finish

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WITHOUT doubt, the league race is set to end in dramatic fashion than was earlier imagined by connoisseurs, with just two matches more left.

One week after another, new developments on the soccer scene continue to force observers and commentators to review and revise their thoughts about the possible outcome of the championship.

Three games before the end, defending champions, Hearts of Oak, led their closest pursuers by some six points, and they were expected to have wrapped up their fifth successive title defence last Sunday when they engaged city rivals, Great Olympics, in the competition's most attractive game.

But when the Wonder Club shook themselves the Phobians had to fight hard to manage just a draw, thereby cutting their leadership to four points after Kotoko survived the stubbornness of Goldfields with a 1-0 victory in Kumasi.

So when the 16 teams venture into action again tomorrow in the penultimate fixtures, it will be another day of determination to maintain standard as against ambition to do the unthinkable when Hearts engage relegation-scared Power FC in Accra while Kotoko battle it out with RTU at Bolga.

While Hearts will be seeking to overcome Power FC to render any 'coup' plot being hatched by Kotoko ineffective, Power, placed third from the bottom, can barely afford to drop a fraction of the remaining six points at stake in their last two games.

The scenario is a make or break affair for the two sides, notwithstanding the strengths and abilities both sides have demonstrated throughout the entire competition. While a win will seal the title for the Phobians, a defeat to Power will likely send the electricity boys closer to the dreaded realm of Division One.

It is this scenario that has placed the game in the class of a crucial encounter for both Hearts and Power, the outcome of which will define the fortunes and destiny of either side.

Interestingly, the form of Hearts has plummeted all-time low with key stars Charles Taylor and, particularly goalkeeper Sammy Adjei, being the worst affected, leaving the team to survive just on their big-name status.

That presents the electricity boys a perfect opportunity to do the damage before the eyes of the 'Chinese,' as Hearts call their fans, if they care to maintain their premiership status. But whether serial killer Don Bortey, Edmund Copson and Wisdom Abbey will allow the competition to run all the way to the wire remains a question to be answered tomorrow.

Asante Kotoko, whose title aspirations have been boosted once again by Sunday's results, will be keeping their sights on their game against RTU, while they keep their eyes on the game in Accra.

The Porcupine Warriors, though four points adrift of the leaders, have a mathematical chance if the Phobians falter, a condition that will force them (Kotoko) to achieve success.

But against the only northern regional premiership campaigners who, like Kotoko are undefeated at home, Kotoko have a tall order to overcome, especially when vengeance must be lingering on the minds of the home side. Like Hearts, Kotoko seem to have lost some steam over the last few weeks and if skipper Godwin Ablordey, Nana Arhin Duah, Hamza Mohammed and Michael Osei fail to motivate themselves for the game, they could be sent the same way Hearts went when they last visited Bolga.

In fact, RTU after shattering Hearts' unbeaten run in the league, will aim at achieving another big feat, especially when they had suffered their worst defeat at the hands of Kotoko.

At Sekondi tomorrow, and in Accra on Thursday, Dawu Youngsters and Bofoakwa will attempt to shake off the relegation threats scaring them with such intensity when they play away to Hasaacas and Liberty.

While neither of the two lowly-placed sides has any realistic chance in the two games, the threats of relegation is what might provide them the motivation to cause upsets.

King Faisal face another day of uncertainty against mid-table Arsenals at Kumasi, while Olympics might prove too strong for relegation candidates, Maxbees, at Koforidua. At Sunyani, B.A. United have a chance to redeem their image when they welcome Okwawu United to the Coronation Park, while Goldfields will find it tough against in-form Mine Stars at Obuasi.

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