The excitements, the disappointments, the dramas, the cheers, the boos, the wows, the insults, the ohs, the ahs, and the abuse of matchday officials and team officials-betPawa Premier League has produced them all at the one-third stage.
From individual brilliance like Owusu Afriyie scoring the only hat trick of the season for RTU to master tacticians like Maxwell Konadu making Nsoatreman solid and thick.
Every team will play 34 matches so around Weeks 11 and 12 are the one-third stage of the season.
Highlights of every match week
Ex-Future Stars’ defender Owusu Afriyies’ towering header set the tone for the 2023-24 betPawa Premier League in RTU’s 1-0 win over Accra Hearts of Oak at the Aliu Mahama Stadium in Tamale on MD1.
As Kotoku Royals, King Faisal and Tamale City suffered relegation, Nations FC, Bofoakwa Tano and Heart of Lions were welcomed to the league.
Dr Kwame Kyei’s Sports Complex witnessed a wonderful victory on matchday 2 with a brilliant 2-0 win over Samartex as the new boys recorded their first-ever win at the top flight.
Saaka Dauda scored a 47th-minute winner against Hearts of Oak for Bofoakwa Tano which propelled the newly promoted side to the top of the table in Week 3 as Asante Kotoko’s 1-1 draw at home sent Prosper Narteh Ogums men to the bottom of the table.
Week 4 recorded 3 goalless draws as Bibiani Gold Stars thrashed RTU by 3-0. 11 goals were just scored in that match week.
RTU and Karela played a very exciting 3-2 game which was won by RTU as Week 5 saw Hearts of Oak finishing in the relegation zone after their games against Heart of Lions was postponed due to the spillage of the Akosombo dam.
Aduana Stars’ imperial form began in Week 6 as they became the talk of the league with 5 consecutive wins by winning easily against Olympics, RTU, Bofoakwa, Heart of Lions and Bibiani Gold Stars respectively. The consecutive wins sent a warning to the other league contenders.
Weeks 11 and 12 have exposed Heart of Lions deeply as they remain rooted in the bottom of the league for five consecutive weeks.
In all, 106 matches have been played with only two outstanding matches as Aduana Stars have recorded the most wins, 7. Heart of Lions is the only team to not have beaten any opponent.
201 goals have been scored so far as Week 8 has proven to be the week that many goals were scored, 28. Isaac Mintah of Aduana Stars is the leading top scorer having found the back of the net 9 times. Aduana Stars have scored 20 goals, five more than RTU which is the second-highest-scoring team. RTU has conceded a whooping 22 goals, yes! 22 goals. Nsoatreman has the best defence as they have conceded just 5 goals in 12 matches.
The managerial sacking race started very late compared to previous seasons as Hearts of Oak was the first to sack Martinus Koopman, their Dutch manager who was finding it difficult to let Phobia score the needed goals. Frimpong Manso was sacked by Bofoakwa Tano and Micheal Osei of Bibiani Gold Stars mutually accepted to step down from his duty as head coach of the Bibiani-based club.
Isaac Mintah, NASCO player of the month for October, has proven to be the best forward in the league with 9 goals.
Augustine Okrah since returning to the betPawa Premier League has been in red-hot form as Hearts of Oak’s Hamza Issah, and Berekum Chelsea’s Stephen Amankonah have all shown glimpses of the best player in the league so far. Bofoakwa’s Foward Dauda Saaka Manaf Umar of Nsoatrreman and Evans Adomako have all been super so far this season.
Nsoatreman’s 27-year-old keeper Daniel Afadzu has conceded just 5 goals in 11 games his performance can never go unnoticed.
Nsoatreman’s coach Maxwell Konadu was mercilessly beaten by Nsotraman’s fans which has led to Bofoakwa’s ban from the Sungani Coronation Park. Asante Kotoko was fined 80,000 cedis by the FA for destroying seats at Dr Kwame Kyei’s Sports Complex. Hooliganism is still a problem in Ghanaian football as all stakeholders have failed in fighting it. The season at one-third stage has witnessed some barbaric acts by some fans.
Officiating hasn’t been the best nor it has been worse as mistakes from referees are part of the game. Some unpardonable mistakes from officials have been made as some bold decisions have been taken by some of the referees.
The 1/3 stage of the 2023-24 betPawa League has witnessed a whole lot of actions: both positive and negative as teams are preparing to start the two-third stage of the season. Long may the positives continue whilst the negatives must be eradicated.
The betPawa Premier League has been scintillating as all the teams are fighting for their objectives with all seriousness. The one-third stage has seen a rise in standards. We are just hoping the two-third stage and the final stage will also live up to expectations.