By: Prince Dornu-Leiku
New entrants Amidaus Professionals of Tema are the guests of champions Asante Kotoko in Kumasi on Sunday as the Glo Ghana Premier League returns with the 2012/13 season.
Kotoko were ruthless in sealing a 22nd league title last term and even though they have lost coach Maxwell Konadu as well as captain cum league MVP Daniel Nii Adjei to the exodus bandwagon, the Porcupine Warriors have strengthened strongly, Richard Mpong who joined from Medeama is one of the big name recruits.
And Kotoko have already served warning of their intent by outclassing FA Cup winners New Edubiase in last Sunday’s Super Cup, claiming the Alhaji Sly Tetteh trophy on the two goals of Kofi Nti Boakye.
A result that has left new assistant coach of the club, Orlando Wellington buzzing with excitement even as he holds the fort for substantive coach Mas-ud Didi Dramani who is in Azerbaijan battling for honours with the Black Maidens at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
“I am happy with our pre-season form and I have no doubt in my mind that we will retain the Premier League title. We are ready for any team. We are not going to allow any team to take the title from us. Preparations for this season have gone on well and I am very happy with the progress made,” Wellington has said.
One of the teams that will be aiming for Kotoko’s crown certainly are Berekum Chelsea, the very team Kotoko dethroned.
The mega rich Chelsea are hungry for success and a return to the CAF Champions’ League, a competition they shone brightly on debut earlier this year. Even though they’ve lost Emmanuel Clottey and thus his goals, Chelsea have recruited a host of top players including former league goalking Eric Bekoe to power their dream.
They begin with a home game against Kpando Heart of Lions as they seek to quickly erase from memory the fact that they finished last season in 7th spot.
Giants Hearts of Oak have not won the league in four years and it is a misery by their standards.
Now with Coach Akunnor at the helm right from the onset, Hearts are hoping to return to the top and recruiting among them Seth Owusu, Baan Boateng, Richard Addai, Emmanuel Ansong , Ivorian import Robin Gnagne and Gibert Fiamenyo, the Phobians couldn’t have made any other statement.
Their bid for a good start will however have to wait as their match day one game against Tema Youth has had to be postponed to Wednesday because of the Tema club’s contribution of over three players to the national U-20 team that plays Morocco in an African youth championship final round qualifier in Rabat this afternoon.
Elsewhere, Ashantigold’s hopes of ending the bridesmaid role after finishing each of the past three seasons as runners-up as well as the recent FA Cup final loss to local rivals New Edubiase begins with a tough trip up North as the first guests of RTU as the revered Tamale club make a swift return back up the top ladder of Ghana football after suffering a first demotion two seasons ago.
Big spending Medeama SC could only finish 4th last season despite their huge investments and hopes.
They are promising a better run this term and this faces a stern test right on the opening day when they travel to Bekwai to face sensational New Edubiase who have nonetheless lost goal king Emmanuel Baffour whose strikes powered them to a surprising 5th spot in 2011/12.
Alhaji Karim Gruzah’s King Faisal are back in the big time after also going down two years ago but they would have to adjust quickly to the top flight because they face scientific soccer lads Liberty Professionals in Dansoman on match day one, Dwarfs host Berekum Arsenal still serving a home ban with imposed due to rowdy fans’ behaviour last season whilst Wa All Stars aim for a good start at home against 2010 champions Adunaa Stars.