A STIRRING dog-fight to avert relegation and a pertinacious contest for the title will define this weekend’s First Capital Plus Premier League (FCPPL).
With only seven games left for the clubs to decide their fate, all the contestants must have been sitting on tenterhooks.
Life at the apex is as intriguing and mind-boggling as the resolution of the bottom clubs to avoid the drop.
A whopping 21 points are up for grabs and those precious points would be fought for with ruthless intensity – especially by leaders Obuasi Ashantigold and defending champions Kumasi Asante Kotoko, who clash at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi tomorrow.
Ashgold, winners of the previous encounter at the Len Clay Stadium, have been without the league title for 19 solid years and now see tomorrow’s tie as a do-or-die affair in their sworn resolve to pluck the Holy Grail this season.
The Miners romped to a seven-point lead off the pack over a number of weeks, but that decent advantage has now been slashed to a negligible two, following an away loss to Sekondi Hasaacas and a home draw in mid-week to Edubiase United.
With Berekum Chelsea breathing ceaselessly down their neck, Ashgold know all-too well that any slight slither can deal a big blow to their title aspirations.
Kotoko, on the other hand, have fared badly in this campaign – losing terribly to teams they easily trudged over on their way to winning their last title. Only last Sunday, the Asanteman contingent slumped to an ego-shattering 0-3 home defeat to Chelsea – a traumatizing defeat that was further compounded by the 1-0 loss to WAFA at Sogakope in mid-week.
Believe or not, Kotoko lie at an uncomfortable 12th position with 29 points, only three points better than relegation-threatened Accra Great Olympics.
Clearly, anything besides victory for Kotoko may spell doom for the club and that makes tomorrow’s fixture a massive one. Would Kotoko get it right this time around; or could Ashgold worsen their plight one more time? It is difficult to tell now, but the side with a better conversion rate on the day stands a bright chance to walk away with heads held high.
At the Accra Sports Stadium, Olympics will be expected to dash for the jugular and snatch the maximum points as they host seventh-placed Medeama SC. Liberty Professionals welcome inspiring WAFA to the Carl Reindorf Park in a match of equals but the home team must be wary of the visitors whose lone-goal victory against Kotoko could goad them to higher feats.
A highly-motivated Hearts side were in ruthless form in midweek as they slaughtered Heart of Lions 4-0. That thumping victory should stir the Phobians to another great result over Edubiase at the Len Clay Stadium.
Chelsea did not look like a side challenging for the title. Now they strongly are. As they play as guests of Bechem United in a regional derby tomorrow, the second-placed visitors would have one eye fixed at the top spot. They appear to be in great shape, but Bechem could be treacherous.
In other potential thrillers, Aduana Stars host stubborn Inter Allies at Dormaa; struggling BA United storm Sekondi as guests of Hasaacas, while the badly-bruised Kpando Lions welcome Kwesi Nyantakyi’s fifth-placed Wa All Stars.
By John Vigah