A title contest to be decided on the final day and a relegation battle going to the wire, with Hearts of Oak -- the league's second most successful side -- also facing relegation worries going into tomorrow's fixtures.
That is the story of the 2022/23 betPawa Premier League season which has produced surprise results, controversies and excitement in equal measure with a late title showdown between Medeama and Bechem United heading for a photo finish. And for the two clubs, separated by just three points and eying their first ever league glory, the title is just a touching distance away and will, therefore, utilise their remaining wellspring of power to fulfil their own ambitions.
At the end of tomorrow's 34th week encounters, the league trophy will have 11 different winners (excluding the defunct Real Republicans) since 1958.
Tarkwa is preparing for a football carnival as local side, Medeama, go into their last fixture against Tamale City at the Akoon Park and needing just one point to guarantee a first-ever title. As the mining town warms up for what promises to be Medeama's finest moment, approximately 310 km away, another title hopeful, Bechem United, will be engaged in an even tougher battle against Aduana Stars FC at Dormaa-Ahenkro, in a bid to fulfil their own title ambitions the hard way.
Bechem's glory hunt
Second on the league log, Bechem have to beat Aduana by a big margin but need a helping hand from Tamale City who must achieve the improbable by causing an upset at Tarkwa of all venues to avoid relegation and possibly change the destination of the league trophy.
For Medeama, this is their best ever opportunity to claim the biggest prize in Ghana football after twice finishing second on the log (2021/22 and 2019/20 seasons). Formerly known as Kessben FC before rebranding in 2011, the club have been formidable on the domestic front, having clinched two MTN FA Cup titles in 2013 and 2015, as well as the Ghana Super Cup in 2015 following 1-0 victory over AshantiGold.
This season, Evans Adotey, has guided the 'Mauve and Yellow' to an impressive run and at home they are just untouchable, having recorded 13 wins with three defeats in 16 games (a win rate of 81 per cent at home). It will be unthinkable that they will implode when it matters most at a place they have turned into a fortress and allow their opponents to deny them their biggest moment.
Tamale City could have their work cut out as they have been poor on the road -- they are without a win in 16 away matches all season and the statistics in their last five encounters outside the Aliu Mahama Stadium do not look encouraging: three losses and two draws.
Football derives its passion from the uncertainty of results, but on current form, the Tamale boys could best play a drawn encounter at Tarkwa, where their opponents have won all their last nine matches, but such a result could produce a mix of emotions for either side as league champions and possible relegation candidates.
The dynamics make it difficult for Bechem United to achieve their ambition despite an impressive campaign this term; they could be chasing the impossible tomorrow even though they have enjoyed a better head-to-head record against Aduana and start as pre-match favourites in tomorrow's clash at the Nana Agyemang Badu Park.
Bechem United will look to their leading marksman Hafiz Konkoni to lead them to victory against Aduana Stars
In the run up to the game, Bechem United president, Kingsley Owusu-Achaw, has been talking tough that Aduana had not beaten them in recent encounters and will allow the home side to stand in Bechem's way, especially with the stakes so high tomorrow.
For Aduana, who topped the league table for most part of the season before losing steam as the competition entered the home stretch, tomorrow's regional derby offers them an opportunity to end their recent run of poor results and end the season with a home win and finish in second position, having gone winless in the last five games with two draws and three defeats.
Other matches of interest involve clubs with relegation worries, particularly those at the bottom half of the log such as Accra Great Olympics (16th), Tamale City (15th), Legon Cities (14th), Accra Lions (13th) and Karela United (12th), who will be in battles of their lives in a bid to avoid going down with relegated Kotoku Royals and King Faisal to the Division One League.
Even 2021/22 champions, Hearts are not totally out of the woods yet. At the 11th position on the log, they could go down, if they lost while others with relegation worries produced some dramatic results.
The Phobians are going through the worst of times and have lost four straight matches and need to rediscover the winning formula against a Berekum Chelsea side who are technically out of the relegation now and have a decent record at the Golden City Park where they have their pride at stake.
Legon Cities have 43 points while Tamale City and Olympics are tied on 42 points and will need victories to jump out of the relegation net. Cities have won their last four home matches and are primed for a fifth straight win against eighth-placed, FC Samartex 1996, who have nothing to lose at the El-Wak Stadium.
Olympics have recorded decent results (three straight wins and a draw) since relocating to Sogakope and should have enough in their arsenal against 10th-placed Nsoatreman FC who are one of the competition’s worst away performers but still managed to secure their place in the premier league next season.
Fourth-placed Asante Kotoko will play for pride as they host sixth-placed Dreams FC at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, while relegated King Faisal travel to Tamale to lock horns with Real Tamale United.
Accra Lions have a tricky trip to Bibiani to play against fifth-placed Goldstars at the Dun's Park, Bibiani.