Five games into the Ghana Premier League and it seems clear that traditional giants Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko will be up against it this season too.
The two clubs with the most League titles have taken a backseat recently as the likes of Aduana Stars dominate the league, and again both suffered significant setbacks on Sunday.
CK Akunnor making his point in style
Former Ghana captain CK Akunnor has had his difficulties as a coach in spells at Eleven Wise and Hearts of Oak, but he is finally making his point at AshantiGold. After steering them away from relegation last term, the former club captain has masterminded a superb start to life at the Len Clay Stadium as they seek a fifth league title. On Sunday, they claimed their biggest scalp of the season with a 2-0 win over Asante Kotoko through two second half goals from Abdul Samed and Shafiwu Mumuni. They remain top of the standings with four wins and one draw from the opening five games, and also have the best goal-difference of +6. In all aspects, Akunnor's men are setting the early pace.
Giants continue to slip
There was a time when everything Hearts and Kotoko touched turned to gold in the Ghana Premier League, but those days are long gone. Hearts have not won the title since 2009, and that run looks set to continue on the evidence of their start to the current season. Sunday was the lowest, conceding three goals and losing rather tamely away at Berekum Chelsea. It brought an abrupt end to their return to form when they won two straight games, and leaves further questions over Henry Wellington's future at the club.
Kotoko finally caught out
Kotoko's season has been based on a simple approach: Defend for long spells, depend on goalkeeper Felix Annan to make all the big saves, and then score the odd goal. They did all that except score the goal because AshantiGold were just too good. And it exposed the flaw in their approach this season. CK Akunnor called them "defensive", a tag many others have labeled them with. They have scored just three goals in five matches and are six points behind leaders AshantiGold. Unless they sort out their attack they, like Hearts, may watch AshantiGold and others battle for the trophy without much of a say.
Same old WAFA
Every season we are tempted to think WAFA will finally break out and earn league glory. But every season they stick to type. They are always excellent at home, but are barely able to win an away game and two losses on the road -- the most recent against an Inter Allies team who let in six in their last game against Aduana Stars -- suggest the Sogakope outfit still can't get over their travel blues. Klaus Rasmussen has always insisted the title is not their objective, but for the neutrals hoping that all those exciting young talents win something, results like the 1-0 loss against Allies has become all too familiar and frustrating.
Liberty finally on the board
The Dansoman club have their first win of the season after four attempts, which now means all 16 clubs have won a game. Bright Andoh and Benjamin Eshun scored in each half for a 2-0 win over Eleven Wonders. Liberty are still bottom of the league with four points, but new coach Reginald Boateng is hopeful they can build on the win.