Week 17 of the First Capital Plus Premier League will be awash with regional derbies countrywide.
Four out of the eight matches to be contested this weekend will give bragging rights to who reigns supreme in the cities of Accra, Sunyani, Takoradi and Bechem.
Out of these fixtures, the topliner will be at the Accra Sports Stadium- the ‘Mantse Derby’ where Hearts of Oak face Great Olympics.
The Phobians come into this game desperately looking for a win after going winless in their last three games while the Wonder Club are in search for a victory of their own after four consecutive draws.
The Accra Derby has always been a keenly contested since the late 1950s and this Saturday’s encounter will be no different.
The first round ended in a stalemate with presumably nerves taking the better part of both teams, but this Saturday’s game may see the shackles taken off both teams as they have been oozing in confidence in recent weeks.
The addition of veterans Dan Quaye, Godwin Attram and Richard Kingson have further spiced up this derby but Hearts Assistant Coach is unperturbed and is aiming for victory.
“It’s still our wish to win this game and we will do everything within our means to win this game.” Dauda told Hearts News.
It will be intriguing to watch whether the experience of the Olympics veterans or the youthful exuberance of the Phobians will come out on top.
In other derbies…
Fourth-placed Medeama will play Hasaacas at the Essipong Sports Stadium. Hasaacas are buoyed after their 1-0 victory over Bechem United at the same stadium.
Medeama rallied back from a goal down to grab a point in Sunyani and will look to enter this derby with the much needed confidence.
Top scorer Nathaniel Asamoah will look to add to his 11 goals to consolidate his lead as the top scorer of the league.
Sunyani’s Coronation Park will also host Berekum Chelsea and B.A United in a derby with both sides looking to enhance their positions on the league log.
B.A United are still languishing bottom on the league after their 1-1 draw with Medeama.
Chelsea on the other hand picked an impressive point in Tema and their head coach Stephen Odwo is looking to build on this result as he chases a top 4 slot.
“The target is we want to be among the top 4. As you can see you can see, we are approaching to that era,” coach Odwo told reporters after the game against Inter Allies in Tema.
Bechem United and Aduana Stars will serve the last of the derbies when both teams clash at the Bechem Park.
Aduana are on hot on the trail of league leaders Ashantigold and will strive hard not to slip up as any other result apart from a victory can see their title ambitions fade away.
Bechem United on the other hand come into this clash wounded after losing 1-0 to Hasaacas in Sekondi. The Bechem side languish in the relegation zone and every point picked from this matchday will be essential for their safety.
Kumasi Asante Kotoko will be hoping to bounce back from their defeat against Hearts of Lions when the face New Edubiase in the first fixture of the weekend.
The Friday afternoon fixture will see Coach David Duncan’s boys aiming to snatch a victory over Edubiase after a grueling 2-2 encounter between both sides in the first round of fixtures.
There will be all to play for as a victory for Edubiase, who are 15th on the log, will see them leapfrog the Porcupine Warriors who are in the 9th position by virtue of having a better head to head record.
League leaders Obuasi Ashantigold will play as hosts to Jimmy Cobblah’s Wa All Stars at the Obuasi Len Clay Stadium looking to extend their lead at the top.
Revenge will be the paramount motive on Ashgold’s mind as the look to avenge their 1-0 defeat at the hands of Wa All Stars in the first round in WA.
The Miners have a 4 point lead and are well aware of how calamitous a slip up will be considering the proximity of points amongst clubs on the league table.
Coach Bashir Hayford’s team have been noted for losing steam when their league reaches its final stretch and thus, he will hope to secure the title as early as possible.
Ashgold’s opponent have been on a rise this season and currently find themselves lying fifth on the log.
Liberty Professionals and Kpando Hearts of Lions come into their matchday 17 fixtures with contrasting fortunes.
While Lions devoured Kotoko 3-1 in Kpando, the scientific soccer side only managed to pick a point in Dormaa.
There is not much to separate these two teams currently as they drew 0-0 in their first round fixture and have identical goal differences as well.
A victory for either side can see them move as high up as 2nd should other results go in the favor.
The last fixture for the round of 17 matches will be between WAFA and Inter-Allies. This game is set to be an all action game should the first round game be replicated.
Both teams have created a niche for producing young players and the exuberance of the youngsters in the first round was a sight to behind.
WAFA will be looking to bounce back from the defeat they suffered at the hands of Wa All Stars while Paa Kwasi’s Inter Allies who have had a patchy spell recently in the league will be seeking to pick their first win in four games.
All the games
Hearts v Olympics
AshGold v Wa All Stars
Kotoko v Edubiase
WAFA v Inter Allies
Chelsea v BA United
Medeama v Hasaacas
Liberty v Heart of Lions
Bechem v Aduana
Photo credits: FPM