The second tier of Ghana’s football is divided into three zones due to the number of teams involved and the location of the clubs.
Forty-eight teams in total but 16 teams in each of the three zones with one team gaining promotion from each zone making it three in all to the top-flight at the end of every season.
It has been dubbed as the wilderness of Ghana Football due to the difficulties involved in playing in the league, which includes abnormal officiating, visiting players and referees being tortured by home fans but not only off the field intimidation, transportation issues, no sponsorship money and the most difficult to prove, the alleged fixed games.
Notwithstanding all these aforementioned problems associated with the league, the Division One in recent years have seen massive improvement in all aspect of the game including the quality of players that ply their trade in the league.
NOW, let focus on the brighter side of the league and what it means to be successful in the second tier, and how far that success can lead you to reach in years ahead.
My focus today is on the Zone Two of the Ghana Division One League which comprises teams from three regions out of the sixteen, which are the Ashanti, Central and Western Regions respectively.
Ironically, the three players in focus today from the same Zone hail or played for teams from each of the three regions that make up the ZONE TWO.
First is Victor Aidoo: Hearts of Oak – Former Club: Samartex FC
Audio is a 22-year-old striker who plays for one of the most successful Ghanaian clubs, Accra Hearts of Oak SC.
The bulky striker previously played for Samartex FC in the Western Region and in the Zone Two of the Division One League.
During his days with the Timber Giants, the youngster was one of the most important players in his team and was a constant threat to defenders due to his enormous strength, and his ability to score from all sort of angles.
After scoring nine times in the NC tournament, Aidoo shot to fame with a lot of clubs chasing his signature but the young man stayed put at the Green and Whites club.
During the truncated season in Ghana due to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, the, then 21-year-old striker was leading the goal scorers chat in the zone with 11 goals which attracted the attention of the Phobians who made the signing of the striker a priority and ended up securing his services for the 2020-21 Ghana Premier League season.
At Hearts of Oak, Aidoo has become a household name in the domestic league after bursting into fame with his goal scoring prowess and his technique of taking a spot-kick.
In 15 games for Accra Hearts of Oak SC in the ongoing Ghana Premier League season, Aidoo has bagged seven goals scoring three from the spot with his ‘wicked’ technique and two with his head and the other two coming from his favorite right foot.
The youngster had his penalty saved in his last outing for Hearts against Obuasi Ashantigold SC, but that is when he decided to go for placement instead of his usual power technique of hitting the ball hard.
With seven goals from 15 matches, it is no doubt that the young man is destined for greatness and would need the backing of everyone at his club especially after his penalty miss which cost his team a defeat.
Second: Gordon Kusi Brokelyn – Ashantigold SC: Former club: Asokwa Deportivo SC
Brokelyn! Not your usual typical Ghanaian footballer’s name right? But don’t be ‘fooled’, this is a striker full of potential and with great guidance and coaching could become one of Ghana’s leading marksman in the world in the coming years.
Brokelyn joined Asokwa Deportivo SC at a tender age in 2016 and has been with the club throughout these years but did not really get a chance to prove his mettle until the introduction of the NC tournament where he scored twice in just three appearances.
The striker was hit with a serious injury which kept him on the sidelines for a long while and could not replicate his old form as he missed almost all the matches through injury.
After being on the sidelines for a long time, the 20-year-old striker returned to the game this season with the Asokwa-based Division One League side Deportivo SC full of determination and optimism of making up for all the lost minutes and time on the field count in the new campaign.
The youngster missed out on the Ghana under-20 team in 2018 just before the team traveled to the AFCON U-20 championship, a tournament Ghana failed to progress from the group stages was captained by Asokwa Deportivo SC former captain, Ishaku Konda who’s now at Paide Linnameeskond in Estonia.
This season, Brokelyn played ten matches in the league for the Allah is Great club and scored four goals with five assists and was the top scorer of the club before his departure to Ashantigold SC in Obuasi.
At Ashantigold SC, the young man has made two appearances in the Ghana Premier League against Karela United FC and Accra Hearts of Oak SC which is not an easy start to life at a new club but the attacker has shown glimpses of brilliance and what to come in with future.
Though he’s yet to find the back of the net for the Yellow and Blacks, there’s no doubt that the young man is one of the prospects to have emerged from the Ashanti region of the Division One League Zone Two.
Third: Francis Andy Kumi: Kumasi Asante Kotoko SC – Former Club Unistar Academy FC
With Brokelyn and Aidoo coming from teams in the Western and Ashanti Region, Kumi completes it by emerging from Central Region to make sure all the regions that make up the Zone Two are well represented.
Kumi, 22, was not widely known or often heard of in the Ghana Football fraternity but one could attribute that to lack of hype or just because of the location of his team that base in Kasoa or the club itself being a new and ‘small team’ with little achievements.
But Kumi’s talent is undeniable glaring for everyone to see after his impressive showings in the second tier league in Ghana this season with his then his team and now his former club Unistar Academy who now play their home games in Agona Swedru, a town in the Central Region of the country.
The swift attacker got his breakthrough season this 2020-21 campaign with a dazzling and consistent performance in the Division One League first round.
The 22-year-old Ghanaian forward bagged seven goals in the opening five fixtures of the season and was handed a debut call up into the senior national team of Ghana, Black Stars by coach CK Akonnor.
Though he could not make the cut into the final squad for the AFCON qualifiers games against South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe, his call-up served as a morale booster and a motivation to his colleagues and did his confidence a lot of good to face the future with smiles, full of believe.
Then? Yes, Kumasi Asante Kotoko SC came knocking at his door, to come in and replace outgoing striker, Kwame Opoku who had signed up for Algerian side USM Alger pending a mandatory medical test and OH Boy; hasn’t he (Francis Kumi) fit in just perfectly at the Porcupine Warriors?
The young man made a substitute appearance when Kotoko picked a vital point away from home against Eleven Wonders which led to his first start of the season against Bechem United FC in Obuasi where he made his presence felt by scoring his first goal for the club on his debut start.
After the game, I lot was said about the young man and the admiration by his coach Mariano Barreto meant one thing, a player who’s on a mission to prove himself us arguably the biggest team in West Africa.
Kumi followed it up with a goal in his second match against another team from the Brong and Ahafo region, Berekum Chelsea FC and bagged the Man-Of-The-Match award as well to send a good message to Kotoko fans out there to not worry about Opoku’s departure as he’s banging in the goals in his ‘young’ Kotoko career.
These three players, Víctor Aidoo, Gordon Kusi Brokelyn and Francis Andy Kumi as mentioned earlier all emerged from teams in the Division One League that plays in Zone Two and have started shinning brightest among their peers in the Ghana Premier League.
These and many are the reason why I encourage you to keep a keen interest in the lower-tier league especially Zone Two of the Ghana Division One League where stars are made.
With their early displays in the league so far, these guys are destined for greatness and must be nurtured and groomed well for the country’s future football because they are assets to Ghana and must be protected well enough for future benefits.