READY?: 2019/20 GPL Season Could Be A Thriller


It may still be a fortnight away from commencing, but the 2019/20 Ghana Premier League (GPL) term could have all the trappings of success.

No season of the domestic top-flight has been as anticipated in recent memory, although that is probably because the league has been dormant for the last 18 months. The Normalization Committee’s Special Competition did keep fans’ excitement bubbling in the period it lasted, but only a resumption of the league’s original format could yield a real eruption.

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Come December 28, it returns bigger — literally — with 18 teams competing for the first time in the professional era. That expansion, of course, is temporary, and sides would be keen to stay clear of the five relegation slots installed to facilitate a prompt reversal to a 16-club championship. The level of competition would be high, as should the standard of refereeing, with match officials under stricter-than-usual scrutiny following the exposé on bribery and corruption that resulted in the abortion of the 2018 calendar.

Then there is the proposed introduction of penalty shootouts as a means of settling drawn games, not seen since a brief appearance in the nineties. The arrangement is ultimately aimed at helping solve Ghana’s penalty-kicking mystery, and while the long-term success of such a concept remains debatable, it would certainly provide some flourish to games which require such a climax.

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The greatest expectations, though, would be about the quality of the matchday experience. That — unlike spot-kicks — cannot be left to chance. The league kicks off barely two months after the Kurt Okraku-led Ghana Football Association administration took charge, but fans would still be looking out for glimpses — or more — of the upgrades promised ahead of the elections. The new regime has sought to reclaim supposedly lost love for the Ghanaian game, and while spirits could be bolstered easily — and rather momentarily — by a Black Stars victory or two, it is altogether harder to light such a flame and keep it burning bright over the course of a 34-matchday league schedule.

Enforcement of club licensing regulations is a good start, but much more would be demanded of all stakeholders — clubs, officials, fans, and the FA itself — throughout the campaign to make the package truly sparkling, with ribbons and all. Should the cogs fall into place, and moving parts lubricated, the next GPL season could prove one of the most riveting yet.

Brace yourself.

NY Frimpong — Daily Mail GH

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