Week four of the 2023/24 Betpawa Premier League season continues this weekend with exciting matches headlined by the ‘Bono Derby’; two-time GPL champions Aduana Stars FC will welcome regional brothers Berekum Chelsea to the Nana Agyemang Badu Park on Friday, whiles winners of 2022/23 season trek to Bechem to face one of this season’s favorite, Bechem United.
In-form and unbeaten Bofoakwa Tano travel to the Volta Region to face their former division one counterparts, Kpando Hearts of Lions. Karela United, who deepened the afflictions of Asante Kotoko will stay at the Crosby Awuah Memorial Park (CAM Park) to entertain the wonder club, Accra Great Olympics. Kumasi Asante Kotoko will have to cover a distance of 248.4km at a constant velocity to get to their destination in the nation’s capital, Accra, where they will battle it out with the sensational club Accra Lions, who are coached by former Borussia Dortmund star, Ibrahim Tanko. Accra Lions are the best defensive team in the Bet Pawa Ghana Premier League, yet to concede defeat in the ongoing competition, two draws and a win for them.
Hearts of Oak vs. Dreams FC
One match that will catch the eyes of the enormous football loving fans, will be the game between the continental club masters, Accra Hearts of Oak – who have vowed to start their season from week four and unleash their anger on Dreams FC, who have been enjoying some relatively good fortune in continental competition, CAF Confederation Cup, further progressing to the group stages. They’ve been seeded with Nigeria’s champions Rivers United, Tunisia’s Club Africain, and Angola’s Libolo.
In the post-COVID era, the rainbow boys have found some consistency at the start of every season, where they go winless in their first three to four games before they start recovering from their bad performance to compete for the trophy. In contrast, Dreams FC have recorded some interesting away wins and draws in the same periods. Hearts’ league success in the 2020/21 season started with two defeats and two draws before meeting Dreams FC in week five of the season and tantalizing the Dawu club 3 goals to 1, and going on to six unbeaten games under Serbian coach, Kosta Papic, only to be humbled by city rivals, Accra Great Olympics. During the same season, Dreams managed to pick an away point, losing their second away game before playing Hearts of Oak at the Accra Sports Stadium; they were baptized with three metre balls before they managed to shout a big amen.
Hearts of Oak fans were very optimistic during the preseason friendlies and the transfer successes they had, but it seems they are quickly coming to learn the difference between friendly games and league games. With only three points in three games, all departments of the club, from playing body to technical team, board of directors to the fans, are not happy with the results the team is achieving, especially on the road playing less devastated club, Real Tamale United and Bofoakwa Tano, overly being outplayed and defeated.
Coming in to this game, there are certain positives the club has chalked that can give them some motivation to face Dreams FC. This is the first time in three years the phobians have won a league game in their first three matches and the most points they have acquired in the post COVID era in their first three games. With this, the club can rely on this as pipe of hope to revitalize themselves as they face a well inspired team who are enjoying successes on the continental stage and may not approach this game as they use to do anytime; they face a glorious team.
Again, it is a well-established fact that, the successes of Dreams FC last season in the FA Cup started when they defeated Accra Hearts of Oak for the first time at the Accra Sports Stadium and progressed to win the competition.
In the league however, Dreams FC have not been able to beat Hearts of Oak at the Accra Sports Stadium; it has been five wins for the ‘Never Say Die’ Club and a draw which happened just last season. Hearts of Oak may be at the troposphere of league table but may to beat Dreams FC to move to the mesosphere of the table, something which is becoming a theory in Ghana Premier League (GPL).
Both clubs have met once in a round four game and the 21 times league winners came out as victors after a beautiful penalty conversion from Patrick Razak on April 1, 2018.
Dreams are yet to pick a week four win, having played seven games from their promotion into the league in 2016 and considering all the truncated seasons; three draws and four defeats to Dreams FC in their week four encounters.
Last season, they were beaten at Dawu by Accra Lions through one nil. From 2016, Hearts of Oak have lost one of their eight games they have played in week four of the premier league and the normalization tournament in 2019. With this, they have won five of them and drew three and still have a record of not losing at home in week four matches with six matches being played, five wins, one draw.
Both Hearts and Dreams have three points but with Dreams having one game in hand to play due to their journey to Sierra Leone in the CAF Confederation Cup last week Saturday. Dreams are motivated and inspired, but the phobians have decided to pick the maximum three points to relaunch themselves as a league contender.
Players to watch
The Phobians’ Ramos Wannet will still be a threat to the defence of Dreams FC, but captain Jalilu Abdul will map a strategy to tame the Congolese striker. Baafi Amankwa might return to the starting lineup when he conspicuously got missing from the starting line up for the phobians when they travelled to Sunyani to face Bofoakwa Tano. Dreams may start with a powerful midfield with Sylvester Simba return to the line up again after starting from the bench at far away Sierra Leone.
Agyenim Boateng who has been influential in the CAF competition for Dreams may start with their experience goal poacher, Prince Antwi up front. A stiff opposition from Hearts may arrive at the back as the club will still have to depend on the services of Kelvin Osei Assibey and Kofi Agbesimah who has to redeem his image from the mistake he made last week against Bofoakwa Tano.
Hearts of Oak 2 – Dreams 1
Article by: Petras Anaab Ali (Univers Sports) | univers.ug.edu.gh