FC Samartex will be crowned champions of the 2023/24 league season on Sundaay
FC Samartex will be crowned champions of the 2023/24 league season on Sundaay
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Ghana Premier League: Samartex’s crowning moment, six battle for survival

The Nsenkyire Sports Arena at Samreboi will buzz with excitement tomorrow when FC Samartex are crowned the 2023-24 Ghana Premier League champions following their home clash with Accra Lions.

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Yet, while the champions celebrate winning the biggest prize in Ghanaian football in their second year in the elite division, the spotlight will be on a dramatic relegation battle unfolding across five key venues: Accra Sports Stadium, Nana Fosu Gyeabour II Park, Theatre of Dreams (Dawu), Akoon Park, and Golden City Park.

With Real Tamale United and Bofoakwa Tano already relegated, the fight to avoid the third and final relegation spot involves six teams. Dreams FC (11th position), Kpando Heart of Lions (12th), Legon Cities (13th), Karela United (14th), Hearts of Oak (15th), and Great Olympics (16th) all need crucial victories in their final matches to secure survival while anxiously monitoring the outcomes of other critical fixtures.

The outcomes of those matches will not only decide who stays in the top flight but will also mark a historic and potentially heartbreaking moment for some of Ghana’s most storied clubs.

Hearts, Olympics desperate

One of the most crucial encounters will be at Nana Fosu Gyeabour II Park, where 20-time league champions Hearts of Oak must find their winning form against sixth-placed Bechem United to avoid relegation for the first time in their illustrious history.

The stakes are enormous for Coach Aboubakar Ouattara, who faces immense pressure to ensure his team stays in the top flight and does not make the ignominious drop to the second-tier league under his leadership.

Hearts have historically dominated Bechem, including a 6-1 thrashing in the 2020-21 season and a narrow 1-0 win earlier this season.

The return of Ugandan star, Glid Otange, will boost the Phobians' attack, and their Ivorian gaffer Ouattara will rely on key players like Hamza Issah, Salifu Ibrahim, and Kofi Agbesimah to deliver a crucial victory for survival.

Great Olympics, two-time champions, also face a must-win situation against relegated Real Tamale United at the Accra Sports Stadium.

One of the remaining traditional clubs in the league, Coach Jimmy must secure a win for the Wonder Club against the Tamale lads, a side in disarray as a result of months of unpaid salaries owed to the playing body which resulted in the fielding of an under-strength side that lost 1-8 to Dreams FC in a controversial clash last Wednesday at Dawu.

Even though Olympics are tipped to win at home, they hope for favourable results in other matches, especially at Akoon Park, where Karela United face Medeama SC. Despite RTU's struggles this season, Olympics cannot afford any complacency in the must-win encounter.

Coach Aboubakar Ouattara will be under pressure to ensure that he guides  Hearts to avoid relegation

Heart of Lions have put up a remarkable late fight with wins in their last five matches, including two victories and a draw in the last five matches on the road. Tomorrow the Kpando lads face a big test of form and character when they take on Berekum Chelsea at the Golden City Park, where the home side sit comfortably in the fourth position on the league log and have little at stake but to play for pride.

However, for the visiting side, led by experienced coach Bashir Hayford, they have a big motivation to win and escape relegation, with an assurance that earning a point from this fixture will enable them to retain their place in the league.

Like Heart of Lions, Legon Cities are not out of danger and will need a point against Bibiani Gold Stars at the El-Wak Stadium to escape relegation.

Aware that a victory for Olympics could see them leapfrog Cities due to a superior goal difference, Coach Paa Kwesi Fabin and his charges will ensure they keep their foot on the accelerator for their fifth straight win against a side with no relegation worries.

Karela, Dreams on edge

Relegation-threatened Karela United face a tough match against dethroned champions Medeama SC in Tarkwa, where a win by Karela will condemn Olympics to relegation.

Tamale-based Karela have struggled for consistency throughout the campaign and have lost four of the last five away matches and, therefore, must be at their best to upset sixth-placed Medeama, who are strong at home but suffered two straight losses, including a surprise 0-1 defeat against another relegation candidate, Heart of Lions, on June 2 at the Akoon Park.

Dreams FC are tipped to beat Aduana FC on account of their solid home record of 10 wins and four draws in the last 16 matches, as well as greater motivation than the visiting side, who are third on the league log and with a poor record on the road (three wins, one draw, and two losses).

Asante Kotoko, playing at the Baba Yara Stadium, aim to end the season positively against already relegated Bofoakwa Tano. At the same time, Nations FC travel to the Nana Amoah Koronmansah II Park to face Nsoatreman in another crucial match.

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