Hearts, Kotoko, Faisal and Lions Seeded
On the heels of their performance and position in the just ended premier league, four premiership sides, Accra Hearts of Oak, Kumasi Asante Kotoko, King Faisal and Kpando Heart of Lions have been seeded for the GT Gala competition scheduled for Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th April 2005 at the Ohene Djan sports stadium in Accra, the Professional League Board (PLB) has hinted.
According to the chairman of the PLB, Mr. Welbeck Abra-Appiah, the draw for the event would take place at the Kofi Annan ICT center in Accra tonight.
The seasonal ritual gala competition is back after a two-year absence, with the premier league sponsors, Ghana Telecom taking over the sponsorship rights from Guinness Ghana Limited. Ghana Telecom have pumped in ¢3.1 billion as prize money for the tournament.
Each of the 16 teams will receive ¢10 million as participating fees while teams that make it to the final day of the competition will receive an additional ¢10 million.
The winner will take home a giant trophy plus ¢20 million while the first runner-up pockets ¢10 million.
When the most recent edition was held in 2002, Brong Ahafo United defied all odds to clinch the ultimate. Unfortunately the Brong lads would not be defending the title as they have joined the relegation boat.
History has it on record that new entrants to the elite division play above themselves in such competitions and would expect Kade Hotspurs and Cape Coast Mysterious Dwarfs to avail themselves of this tradition.
Both Hotspurs and Dwarfs joined the premiership after coming up tops in the just ended national division one middle league and would want to send an early warning signal as far as their intention of staying in the premiership is concerned. They looked capable of good output this weekend.
The nature of the competition makes it extremely difficult for one to predict the outcome of matches and as has been the tradition, most of the game would be settled through penalty kicks.
The 15-minute each half play has always not been enough to call for an open play although goals have been scored in this short period.
Sekondi Hasaacas had to battle through the play offs to sustain their premiership status and would want to showcase what they have in store for the 2005 League with a good showing this weekend.
The Academy boys from Gomoa Fetteh will prove a handful for many in this sort of conditions and can be considered as strong favorites to lift the ultimate.
Tema Real Sportive must have gained some experience by now to propel them to finish high in this tournament.
The same can be said for their city rivals, Power FC. They are the most stubborn side to play against in the league and if they can translate some of that resistance into play this weekend, they could lay their hands on their first silverware in Ghanaian football.
Liberty Professionals have promised to be very strong this year and would see this championship as the perfect time to make a strong case for this season.
Accra Hearts of Oak have always been strong in this competition. They are the record winners and should use that experience to battle their way through and hopefully extend their dominance.
Kpando Heart of Lions won the Coca Cola Top 4 competition early this year and despite the loss of the coach who guided them to that glory, they still look strong enough to go all the way to the top.
Okwawu United have always been promising a lot but end up doing very little. This is a perfect platform for them to stamp their authority on Ghana football and be considered among the top teams, as they believe they are capable.
Ashantigold are past winners of this tournament and with the new wind of hope blowing in their camp, it could be another fine weekend for them.
King Faisal would have a divided attention this weekend as they contest in Africa and this event but they should not be ruled out of the running, as they still look good enough to take on any side.
Berekum Arsenal have proved difficult since they joined the premiership and must be considered strong enough to pick the ultimate at stake.
Real Tamale United played poorly in the just ended Coca Cola Top 4 competition and would seek an image-redeeming exercise this weekend by going all out in this tournament.
Kumasi Asante Kotoko have a lot of public relations to do to win back the confidence and support of their fans and it could get worse if they fail to make a strong impact this weekend.
Bofoakwa Tano have been very quiet since the league ended and would seek to showcase some of their hidden talents with a good output this weekend.