Regional rivals, Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Obuasi Ashantigold say the Ghana Premier League (GPL) title is theirs.
Welcoming the release of the calendar to start the 2019-2020 football season, the two teams, which incidentally represented the country in this season’s continental club competitions, said they were the sides to beat as 18 teams begin the quest for the title on December 21.
Premier league clubs have welcomed the decision to commence football activities in the country but lament the lack of sponsorship could affect their finances as they battle for the trophy.
Even before the kick-off, two rival clubs, Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Ashgold, have declared their intension to battle it out for the ultimate and an opportunity to play in the continental club football.
While Kotoko skipper Felix Annan is dreaming of delivering the trophy to their fans, the CEO of Ashgold Fred Acheampong believes the preparation they have invested ahead of the start of the league season puts them in a prime position to capture the trophy.
Mr Acheampong confirmed to the Graphic Sports in an interview that the unavailability of sponsorship could make life unbearable for his club and most of the other teams that are expected to play in the elite league which returns for the first time since football activities were banned in the country in June 2018.
"We expect that there should be some form of sponsorship. What I mean is that even if there are no sponsors, there should be some form of support from the FA or the government because it is not easy,” he said.
He considered the expansion of the league to 18 teams as one thing that would weigh heavily in its finances and believed the only way they could survive the financial turbulence would be for the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to rescue them with some form of financial assistance.
"Now that we are going to use 18 clubs, it means the travels and expenditure are going to increase. Even if there is no corporate sponsor, there should be some form of funding or support from the association or government,” the CEO appealed.
He envisaged a very tough league season for his club. That notwithstanding, the Ashgold boss has set an ambitious target of qualifying for the continental clubs competition next season.
"Our target is to qualify for Africa and that means we finish first, second or whatever. That’s what we are going to do," he stated.
Asante Kotoko’s Felix Annan expressed excitement over the return of the league because those who lost their means of livelihood would once again get some income back.
"It’s a good step for us as players because we have been waiting for the league to start for some months now. I'm excited because this is our job and we are glad the league is back,” he said.
The 25-year-old shot stopper said the Porcupine Warriors must finish the season as champions, which is what they have targeted.
"We're supposed to be champions. We're the biggest club in Ghana and we believe in Asante Kotoko. Every season you have to challenge for every trophy that is on board, and it hasn’t changed. We know that our fans, management and everybody are expecting us to win the league even if it’s played today. So for us, there is no other target apart from winning the league and we are going to fight for the title”, he said.