This piece was written on Sunday December 29 2002.
Asks Dr. Kofi Effah
In the 2002 Premier League, Kumasi Asante Kotoko (placed second in the league) won all matches played at the Kumasi Sports Stadium, except one.
The only match that Kotoko did not win was against the Champion club, Accra Hearts of Oak, and Kotoko needed a 93rd minute penalty to get a draw!!
Out of the Kumasi Sports Stadium, Kotoko drew three times, and lost three times.
Accra Hearts of Oak also won all home matches played at the Accra Sports Stadium except one – against Liberty Professionals, who also use the Accra Sports Stadium as their home grounds.
Out of the Accra Sports Stadium, Hearts drew twice, and lost once – to RTU in Bolgatanga.
Real Tamale United (RTU) who placed sixth in the Premier league did not lose a match at home. They won eleven times at home and drew four times.
Away from Home, RTU did not win any match, drew three times and lost twelve times.
Alfred Nii Larbi brings hope to Ghana Football
Before Kotoko lost to Okwawu United in the 2001 Star Premier League at the Kumasi Sports Stadium (then called the “Fast Track Stadium”), Kotoko had not lost at home in Ghana’s Premier League in 17 months.
Alfred Nii Larbi scored for Okwawu United.
And before Hearts lost to Liberty Professionals in the 2002 Premier League, Hearts had not lost at home in Ghana’s Premier league in 22 months.
Alfred Nii Larbi scored for Liberty Professionals.
Ishmael Addo, Goalking in the 2001 Star Premier League, playing for Accra Hearts of Oak, scored 22 goals. Twenty (20) of these goals were scored at the Accra Sports Stadium.
In 2002, Charles Taylor was joint Goalking with Bernard Dong Bortey, both from Accra Hearts of Oak. Charles Taylor scored 18 goals. Seventeen (17) of these goals were scored at the Accra Sports Stadium.
(Ten out of Bernard Dong Bortey’s 18 goals were scored at the Accra Sports Stadium).**
(**It must be noted that in 2001 Hearts played 17 out of the 30 league matches in Accra because three teams – Hearts, Olympics, and Liberty Professionals – used Accra as home grounds.
In 2002 Hearts played 18 out of the 30 league matches in Accra because four teams – Hearts, Olympics, Liberty, and Okwawu United – used Accra as home grounds.
In 2001 and 2002, Kotoko played 16 out of the 30 league matches at the Kumasi Sports Stadium because two teams – Kotoko and King Faisal – used the Kumasi Sports Stadium as home grounds).
What could be the cause of this “excessive” home advantage cited above?
Maybe I should ask the question in another way:
What prevented Kotoko, RTU, Ishmael Addo, and Charles Taylor from reproducing what they did at their home grounds elsewhere?
1. “NON ACCLIMATISATION” TO PLAYING FIELDS?
Many people are quick to point out the poor playing fields in certain parts of the country where only home teams are used to. RTU, they claim, are used to the poor field of Kaladan and therefore have the advantage over any visiting team.
Does it mean that if an Olympic Stadium is built in Tamale, Hearts or Kotoko or Liberty Professionals will easily beat RTU in Tamale provided Hearts or Kotoko or Liberty is in better form?
The situation looks more complex than that.
2. THE ROLE OF HOME FANS
People are quick to point out that home support goes a long way to motivate home teams to “work above themselves” to win matches they could otherwise not have won.
But consider this: Where in Ghana have supporters of any home team outnumbered Kotoko’s supporters?
But Kotoko still cannot win as convincingly away from home as at home. So the fans alone cannot explain this.
3. OFFICIATING – ARE HOME TEAMS FAVOURED?
Consider the following:
A. HASAACAS AGAINST KOTOKO/HEARTS: PENALTY AWARDS (2001,2002)
(I) ACCRA HEARTS OF OAK
i. Sun Aug 26 2001
Star Premier league
Week 9 (Outstanding match)
Bernard Dong Bortey (80th – Penalty)
ii. Wed Sept 25 2002
Bernard Dong Bortey (63rd – Penalty)
Bernard Dong Bortey (68th – Penalty)
(II) KUMASI ASANTE KOTOKO
i. Sun June 3 2001
Shilla Alhassan (50th)
Stephen Oduro (60th – Penalty)
ii. Sun Oct 14 2001
Star Premier league
Joe Okyere (7th)
Michael Osei (20th)
Nana Frimpong (78th – Penalty)
Frank Turkson (45th)
Ebo Mends (59th)
Emmanuel Okyere (68th)
iii. Wed Nov 27 2001
Star FA Cup
Stephen Oduro (51st)
Aziz Ansah (74th – Penalty)
Aziz Ansah (85th – Penalty)
*Note that none of these matches was played at the Sekondi Gyandu Park, home grounds of Hasaacas.
what could be the cause of the “numerous” penalties against Hasaacas in their encounters with Kotoko and Hearts?
(a) Poor “defensive tactics” by Hasaacas.
(b) Biased officiating against Hasaacas.
(c) Pure coincidence.
But just ask yourself: if situations were reversed, would Hasaacas have been awarded all these penalties?
And if they had, what would have happened?
Think about the reaction of club officials, supporters, the media, and the Referees Appointment Committee.
God bless Ghana Football!!!
B. 2002 PREMIER LEAGUE: KOTOKO’S DISALLOWED “GOALS”
i. Week 16
Shilla Alhassan’s “goal” at a point scoreline was 0-0 was ruled offside.
ii. Week 18
B. A. United 0
Stephen Owusu’s “goal” in the 75th minute when Kotoko was leading 1-0 was disallowed (on the grounds that B. A United’s goalkeeper Isaac Amoako was fouled).
*B. A. United’s “goal” by Osman Sakora in the 80th minute was ruled offside.
iii. Week 20
Shilla Alhassan’s “goal” in the 57th minute was disallowed.
(Shilla would score a “good goal” six minutes later)
iv. Week 27
Mine Stars 1
Michael Osei’s “goal” in the 19th minute (at a point scoreline was 0-0) was disallowed.
v. Week 29
Frank Osei’s “goal” in the 21st minute (at a point scoreline was 0-0) was ruled offside.
King Faisal 1
80th minute “equaliser” by King Faisal’s Kwabena Boateng (scoreline then was 1-2) was ruled offside.
Writer: Dr Kofi Effah