Accra, April 29, GNA - After several months of waiting, the national Premier League will finally kick off at all the venues at the weekend but on a different format.
The numerous legal cases that the Ghana Football Association (GFA) had to contend with at the end of last season's premiership which eventually delayed this year's league, compelled the GFA to devise and organise a novelty league on a Zonal basis because of the time constraints. As a result, the 16 premier league clubs have been divided into two groups based on their geographical locations though some observers believe that the much-desired flavour and excitement from the competition will be minimized as compared to the previous ones.
The main steam that would perhaps be missing out of this year's competition is the traditional clashes between the two most glamorous clubs in the country, Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko, whose clashes have always been characterised with unyielding tension, anxiety coupled with total excitement.
In spite of these, clubs such as Obuasi Goldfields, King Faisal, RTU, Power FC and Liberty Professionals among others who over the past years have gained the status of being one of the forces to reckon with in the premiership are expected to bring their glamour to bear on the various zones.
The heat is obviously to start from the Accra Sports Stadium where Accra Hearts of Oak will lock horn with Dansoman-based Liberty Professionals when the coherent rivalry that has characterised matches between the two sides in recent times will be re-enacted.
For the past years, the Dansoman boys have been a bogey side to the Phobians in the premiership hence the anticipated duel of a tough match. The current remarkable improvements in their outings recently in the CAF organised competition will obviously serve as an added incentive to the excitement that the duo is expected to produce come Sunday.
While Liberty will be seeking to beat Hearts to prove to all that their 5-1 defeat of Petro Huambo of Angola in no fluke, Hearts on the other hand will be applying their newly discovered form under coach Ernst Middendorp which has been dubbed "the Middendorp formula" and is yet to be tested on the local front.
Accra Great Olympics having suffered series of defeats in the pre-season will be out to avert the trend in the premiership as they trek to Tema to clash with debutants Real Sportive.
Gomoa Fetteh Feyenoord having augmented their squad with some premiership materials will welcome Kpando Heart of Lions at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium. Though Feyenoord displayed a high level of football in the last national middle league, the two sides seem to be of the same standard and a draw seem the likely result.
At the Sekondi Gyandu Park, Hasaacas will welcome Power FC. The latter has been a hard nut to crack even at away matches and will be aiming at collecting at least a point in the duel but it seems as though the homesters are favoured to carry the day on a clean sheet.
In zone A, Kumasi Asante Kotoko seem to be the most favourite side when they open their defence against Brong Ahafo United at the Kumasi Sports Stadium.
B.A. United have in the past found the Kumasi stadium their waterloo and the Porcupine Warriors are tipped to pluck the maximum points despite their lacklustre performance in their CFA Champions league match against ASEC Mimosa last Sunday coupled with the recent supposed technical problems facing the club.
If the performance of Berekum Arsenal last season is anything to go by, then the "Soccer Mountaineers", Okwawu United will be out for a difficult task at the beginning of the season when the two clash at the Berekum Park as Arsenals playing at home are the favourite side. The return of Real Tamale United (RTU) to the their favourite Kaladan Park pegs them ahead of Alhaji Gruzah's King Faisal.
However the Faisal lads having demolished Power Dynamos in the CAF Cup match last Sunday coupled with the pre-season friendlies may be tactically ahead of their opponents and would be riding on this to pick up the three maximum points at stake or at least force a draw.
Visiting Obuasi AshantiGold (Goldfields) stand the chance of picking some points at the Sunyani Coronation Park on Sunday when they meet Tano Bofoakwa due to the massive revolution that they have gone through during the pre-season.
The miners have recruited some quality materials on both the local and the international scene and have acquired the services of a foreign coach. This resulted in their recent demolition of Accra Great Olympics 6-0 at the Len Clay Stadium.
It is therefore the wish and prayer of the GNA Sports this years novelty of league on the zonal basis would see incident free and matches and fair officiating by the match officials.