Basketballghana.com editor, Patrick Akoto, explores the chances of the various schools in the 2010 Eastern Regional Sprite Ball Championship which kicks start in Koforidua on Saturday November 13 and reckons the champions in both the boys and girls category will have it all to do to retain their respective titles.
With over fifteen (15) schools in both the male and female category confirming their involvement in the competition, the stage is now set for an enthralling road to the grand finale in Accra next month.
Defending champions Akosombo International School (AIS), Suhum Secondary Technical School (Sutesco), St Peters Senior High (Peters), Nkawkaw Senior High (Nkwasec), Koforidua Secondary Technical School, St Paul’s Technical School located at Kukurantumi, Aburi Girls Senior High, Abuakwa State College (Abusco), Oda Senior High (Odasco) and first runner up at the tournament last season Pope Johns’ Senior High (Pojoss) amongst others have inked their name to take part in the most prestigious and swankiest basketball tournament in Ghana.
Checks by basketballghana indicate that most of the schools have been engaging themselves in series of low profile friendlies as the race to grab one of the four tickets available in both the male and female category gathers momentum or reaches fever pitch.
The court has been duly prepared with great artisan craft to serve as an epitome for a gruelling encounter.
The competition is expected to be unyielding and zealously contested with plenty of goals likely to be fluffy after some team showed frailty in defence last year.
Undoubtedly champions Akosombo International School (AIS) go into the championship as the huge favourite for the title. They will not be in the mood to surrender the title they wrestled from Suhum Secondary Technical School and will go to any possible length to retain the trophy they won in 2009.The have been so much talk about the ‘new’ AIS team and the fact that they look extremely easier said than done to conquer.
They showed it last year and their ability to maintain their mental aptitude will come in handy when they come up against the other powerful houses in the region which covers an area of 19,323 square kilometers, which is about 8.1% of Ghana’s total land area. They didn’t put up the gear in the grand-finale at the El-Wak stadium last year, but surely demonstrated that they’re the ‘headmasters’ of the region with some scintillating performance that saw them conquer Pope John’s Seminary 11-10 in a rather close contest. .
They will face stiff competition from other schools in the region and their ability to hold their heads high will prove consequential to their title ambitions.
Sutec on the other hand made history by becoming the first school in the region to annex the trophy in the male category in their debut season in 2008 and they’ll salvo the moment with their second title in as many years.
The school which is located in the commercial town of the Suhum Kraboa- Coaltar district is about thirty minutes drive to the capital, Koforidua.
Another side which has the ability to unseat AIS is the Koforidua Effiduase based Pope John’s Senior High School. The school has rich a history which can capitulate the imaginations of people and their participation in the competition will be their third in a row. The side showed great tenacity and passion to place second in the Sprite ball championship last year and they will be aiming to go a step further.
On the other side of the divide is Abuakwa State College who will prove very difficult to crack. They exhibited great potential last year and even though they could not win any medal I won’t be so quick in counting them out of the race.
Meanwhile any side that take St Peters Senior High School for granted do so at their own peril. They placed third in 2008 but could not be located on the medal table a year after but they will be serious contenders this year.
The female team of Nkawkaw Senior High (Nkawsec) won the championship last year in their debut appearance after a riveting performance against 2008 champions Akosombo International School (AIS). Nkawsec will please to have in their fold captain Hilda Koranteng who single handedly inspired the team to success. I still fancy them to lift the trophy for the second time even though I reckon 2008 bridesmaid AIS and Oda Senior High will give them a good run for their money. Aburi Girls Senior High will have another bite of the cherry this year after they confirmed their participation in the tournament and I expect them to have a goal at the trophy.
Oda Senior High male team were there last year and did their best, but obviously their best wasn’t enough after they failed to qualify for the grand finale in the nation’s capital. They showed glimpses of brilliance and determination and that was a clear indication they will be no pushovers this time around. Their female counterpart won silver at the tournament in 2008 and they will be eager to emulate the shining example of their compatriots. I tip them as the outsiders to win a medal this year.
Some schools shine on their second season and this is exactly what am hoping will be the case when St Paul’s Secondary Technical School take part in the tournament for the second time at Koforidua on Saturday. The Kukurantumi based side school according our sources has been in top shape ahead of the championship. I see them as one of the dark horses of this year’s competition and should be watched out.
I want to take the opportunity to wish all the schools the very best of luck and success.
May the spirit of fair play be the chief cornerstone of an exciting competition.
Don’t forget the grand finale takes place at the El-Wak Stadium in Accra on December 22 and 23rd
Sprite Ball Championship 2010 is brought to you by Sprite, Sprite your thirst and supported by Indomie Instant Noodles- tastes great and DDP Outdoor. Media partners TV Africa and Graphic Sports. Sprite Ball 2010 Championship is powered by Rite Multimedia. Patrick Kwame Akoto / basketballghana.com/ Ghana