October 22, 2017 marked the end of the Ghana Premier League season, finally the torture has ended and calm can return.
To the discerning mind Ghana have no business running a professional league based on the standards we have witnessed from the just ended campaign.
A club licensing scheme put together by the GFA which was essentially meant to ensure that participating teams meet certain standards in order to be eligible has been flouted with impunity by all clubs involved.
Indeed if the FA are to strictly go by the standards that they themselves have set not even Wa All Stars, owned by FA President Kwesi Nyantakyi will make the required grade.
As important as structures and the administration of these clubs are, greater evils that have been prevalent throughout the years are now threatening to become a staple feature of the Ghana Premier League.
The manipulation of matches through referees, players, club officials, fans and now betting companies.
Indeed the rot has become accepted among “football people” in Ghana as the appropriate procedure.
Club administrators don’t even bother to debunk allegations of bribery and match fixing any longer but just casually engage in the act of finger pointing and snitching on each other.
This was the case when Dr Nduom, owner and bank roller of Elmina Sharks FC took to social media to complain about blatant biased officiating and generic corruption in the game after his team lost to Aduana Stars in a match that eventually handed them the league crown.
One would expect, that a direct accusation of match manipulation would be met by stern anger and denial but instead Chief Executive Officer of Aduana, Albert Commey, merely shrugged it off and proceeded to counter accuse Dr Nduom of being equally guilty of paying bribes.
In other instances players have been heard on record confessing to betting on matches involving their own teams, while fans and club officials have openly threatened to beat up Televison crew members and journalists that cover the league.
It is important to note that none of these incidents that are on record have been tackled to a logical conclusion by the FA.
In the buildup to the last round of matches reports were rife that deals had allegedly been cut between clubs that were relegation threatened and ones that were in the position to be benevolent.
Despite the awareness created by the media to deter such occurrences, Bechem United went ahead to block the entrance to their stadium with a trailer truck, preventing Startimes from accessing the grounds to telecast perhaps their most important match of the season against Olympics.
In the past the FA have blamed the bad mouthing of the league by certain media houses and individuals for the league’s inability to secure a headline sponsor but one needs to only witness a Ghana Premier League match to witness “unprofessionalism” in its full glory.
A league that has sub standard stadia, prevents media from doing their work, have no minimum standards of remuneration and allow bribery and corruption to become part of everyday pleasantries is evil and destructive for the game of football.
At this rate it is safe to say the Ghana Premier League lacks credibility, right from the players and coaches to the club officials and also media men who have witnessed for years the rot and have watched on with arms folded.
Only a probe and a possible cleansing by FIFA with collaboration from government will save this sinking ship.
Bastie brings Banku to earth
The unrivaled king of trash talk of Ghana boxing, the undefeated and controversial Braimah Kamoko better known as Bukom Banku had once again managed to whip up enough interest to almost sell out the Bukom Boxing Arena in the much anticipated bout against his long time nemesis Samir Bastie.
Indeed the ability of Banku to draw out a crowd is unparalleled in Ghana, but that would be his only meaningful contribution on the fight night.
The bout dubbed “Make or Break” exposed the ageing Banku to the sharp jabs and hooks of the younger and more agile Samir who eventually floored Banku in the third round.
The 12 round untitled bout exposed Banku to more punishment than he had ever received in his professional career and his feet could not hold out much longer as he succumbed to a flurry of punches in the 7th round that sent him to the canvas for a second and final time.
To the crowd present, not only had a loud mouth been handed a deserved beating, but it also came at the hands of one who had long been considered underappreciated and underrated.
For Banku a rematch with Samir will make sense for his pockets but anyone present at the Bukom Boxing Arena would admit that the two boxers are gulfs apart in quality.
Samir must capitalize on the popularity he has gained from the bout to reignite his Professional career while Banku must seriously begin to think about life after boxing because the end is almost here for him.
NBA week one thrills
It’s only the opening week in the NBA, but we can already talk about broken tibia’s, rookie meltdowns, buzzer beaters, fines to star players and managerial casualties.
Gordon Hayward’s Celtics debut lasted barely a quarter and left a sour taste in the mouths of many as he dislocated his ankle and broke his tibia, ruling him out for the season.
This means that rookie Jason Tatum will have to step up big time, while guys like Marcus Smart will have to take on more responsibility.
The Los Angeles Lakers prized asset and number draft pick Lonzo Ball was given a rude awakening by Patrick Beverly of the Clippers in his NBA debut that saw him record 3 points,4 assists and 9 rebounds.
He however bounced back in emphatic fashion and was 1 assist shy of a triple double when he recorded 29 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists against the Phoenix Suns.
His progress might be slow but he looks a really solid long term prospect for the Purple and Yellow’s.
On the other side of the Pacific Division, Eric Bledsoe of the Phoenix Suns has reiterated his desire to leave the organization after their terrible 3-0 start to the season and who can blame him.
The Suns are regarded as one of the worst run organizations in the league with their star players like Isaiah Thomas and Goran Dragic all exiting in the past.
They seem set to lose another who is not interested in the painful process of rebuilding alongside a bunch of rookies and sophomores.
The team has already fired its coach after just three games; yes Earl Watson has already been fired.
Kyrie Irving has already attracted a fine from the NBA after responding with obscene language to a fan who sought to create mischief by asking Kyrie the whereabouts of Lebron following the Celtics loss to the Sixers.
Meanwhile after signing a max deal with the Timberwolves Andrew Wiggins has shown that this could be his coming out year after he hit a buzzer beat to sink the OKC Thunder in a crunch Division match up on the road.
His poise and certainty in hitting the game winning shot should be a feature of this campaign if the Timberwolves will thrive in a highly competitive Western Conference.
He is my early season pick for most improved player of the season.