It was a sensational campaign by the Dormaa Ahenkro-based side, and by the time their threat became a reality, it had overshadowed everything in Ghanaian football, at least for the moment, including Great Olympics’ second relegation in three years and their third in six.
The drama of their coronation — as the first league champions from the Brong Ahafo Region — which secured them CAF Champions League football next year, by every standard, was as significant as how they toppled Ashantigold from the summit of the standings, albeit by the head-to-head rule, having won at home against Ashantigold and forcing a draw at Obuasi in the reverse fixture.
By the mathematics of the permutations, Aduana — three points behind Ashantigold — needed to win and hope Ashantigold lost on the last day, if the direction of the title was to swing from Obuasi to Dormaa Ahenkro.
Aduana achieved their victory in Dormaa Ahenkro, but it was Bechem Chelsea who did them the greatest favour by beating Ashantigold at nearby Berekum — virtually in the manner Ashantigold’s victory over Kotoko had played the title into Ashantigold’s hands as then title contenders Hearts fell at Kessben’s sword.
The scenes of wild jubilation that characterised Aduana’s 1-0 victory over Arsenal, as opposed to the sullen faces that Ashantigold players, technical staff and administrative officials wore elsewhere were suggestive of the contrasting fortunes and fate the main title contenders experienced on the season’s closing day.
Against the backdrop that their success came from a meagre 19 goals in 30 matches, scoring just five times away from home, Aduana’s historic achievement even outdid what Turkey’s Trabzanspor did in the 1979/80 season when they won the domestic title with 25 goals in 30 matches, a feat long held as an all-time record.
On their planned victory celebrations, Aduana will be led by the venerated Coach Herbert Addo, a veteran in the game who was sacked by Kotoko for supposed non-performance, but who went on to build Aduana’s game into a fine unit of both strength and skill, and created a national star in goalkeeper Stephen Adams, with backing from the Dormaahene Nana Agyeman Badu II, the Life Patron of the club and spiritual father who has almost single-handedly bankrolled the club from Division One till now.
Indeed, the falter by Ashantigold appeared foisted by fate, Coach David Duncan and chief executive Kudjoe Fianoo probably worst hit after their efforts had carried the club from near relegation last year to the brink of title triumph, while Fianoo’s one-time special aide at Ashantigold, Kofi Manu, celebrated in Aduana’s corner.
For a season that ended, even if momentarily, the duopoly enjoyed by Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko over the years, Olympics and Wise’s return to Division One was equally significant, just as Hasaacas finally caved in after nearly escaping by a hair’s breadth in five straight years.