Mahatma Otoo of Accra Hearts of Oak was the last player to net 20 goals in a Ghana Premier League season.
It’s been eight years since and no striker in the league has matched that amazing feat.
There was a different feeling to this season, as various strikers from different teams were off the mark early.
However, halfway through the season and the curse of the Ghana Premier League was reinvigorated.
Fans were once again reminded that player exodus is alive and well in the league.
It’s shocking that a league which is ranked as the 11th best league in Africa by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) from 2001–2010, and has also ranked 65th in the IFFHS’ Best Leagues of the World ranking in the first decade of the 21st Century cannot retain its stars for more than a season.
In the 2000s, the league produced some of the lethal strikers that have ever graced the competition; Ishmael Addo, Prince Tagoe, Isaac Boakye, Eric Bekoe and others who played for more than a season with class and sterling performances.
These players stayed glued to their clubs regardless of the numerous offers received from Europe and North Africa.
In recent times, the goal king in the league could end up with just 13 goals in thirty matches. A worrying trend that is set to persist considering the number of quality home-based talent that vacate the country for greener pastures abroad.
The local league has resumed for the second round and will be without some of its top scorers and stars who have moved to North African clubs.
Daniel Lomotey of WAFA moved to ES Setif after scoring eight goals by week 12, Kwame Poku who had seven goals joined USM Algiers and Joseph Esso who has scored 11 goals so far has an agreement with MC Algiers.
Following this trajectory, Karela United’s Diawisie Taylor, the current leading goal king with 12 goals and King Faisal’s Kwame Peprah with nine could both attract moves before the conclusion of the league.
Potentially, the Ghana Premier League is in line to still get a player(s) this season to surpass the twenty-goal mark.
Regrettably, this achievement hinges on the availability of these players and if they aren’t swept away by the exodus curse.
Player exodus has been the bane of the growth of Ghana’s domestic game. Players are coerced by clubs outside the country with the sole focus being on finances without leaving room for development.
The Kurt Okraku led administration seeks to resurrect the almost dead support for the local football through the “Bring Back the Love” campaign.
Maybe a review in their manifesto to help clubs become more sustainable so they aren’t forced to sell could go a long way to developing local football.
This year’s league has been promising with more excitement and scintillating performances from individual players and teams.
Every game has been a cliffhanger and until player exodus is minimized, the game would struggle to develop.
It seems the appropriate authorities are just not doing enough to stem the tide, despite the myriad of fora involving football experts across the country.
The GFA should regularly hold meaningful retreats to marshal ideas aimed at improving the quality and competitiveness of the league, while they take proactive measures to iron out issues.
This has brought a dire consequence to the local league. The unattractiveness of the league has caused the loss of interest by football loving fans and essentially led to the game being eluded from corporate investment and sponsorship.
Something urgent must be done to salvage our local league, the only league that matters.
Source: Haruna Mubarak