It’s getting closer and it feels completely great. Sitting in my office, only four 4 days before the finals of a historic Milo Junior Ball takes centre stage in Accra and my vertebrae is tingling as the prospect of seeing a line-up which will encapsulate the crème de of the game at the basic level in three regions converge.
The next three days will be a short one with eight participants expected to emphasis the uniqueness of the hugely-popular championship.
Specifically, the level of preparations in the pursuit of success and also the eclectic mix of teams, players and their respective supporters who will tumble down from each corner of the Eastern, Central and Greater Accra regions to fight it out for the coveted title.
Perhaps as someone who has followed the game over the years, I have been bombarded with request asking me to predict the winner- a portentous task that even the expert will not dare to venture.
As the curtain draw closer, one fact is sacred. A new champion will emerge and you will have to make up your own mind up as to who will succeed Air Force Basic School.
The feat of the Teshie-based school remains one of the major upset in the 2012 edition of the regional qualifiers.
They beat defending champions Air Force and accounted for last year’s finalist Garrison to make them one of the huge favourite for the title in the grand-finale.
Their solid team spirit and character proved to be their biggest chin of the plate with the charm brought by the side’s big player Godfred Mensah.
The signature of Mensah was one of the reasons why Kalvary won the Greater Accra edition and if he twists his knife into a potential city derby game against Garrison again, there could be fireworks.
The real curse for Kalvary could be the unavailability of some key players who might opt to prepare for the final Basic Education Certificate Examination (B.E.C.E) which takes place three days after the final.
Coach Ransford Sowah could risk the strategy of choosing a few stellar talented players over the depth of those who may not be available for selection and they could be missing the real ‘X-factor’ players to get the crowd going.
But they do have the outstanding Charles Addy who is absolutely sensational under the basket while Jeffery Besha Michaels can score and Seth Ampere will create. The success of Kalvary is likely to depend on the respective contributions of the supporting players including Alfred Agyakwah, Obed Mensah and Nana Benyin Tandoh.
As the only unbeaten team in the Central Regional qualifiers, Mfantsipim Basic School are naturally one of the frontrunners and many people feel it will come down to what happens in the potential clash against Kalvary, although this perhaps is both imprudent and disrespectful to the likes of Ghana Lebanon and Islamic School, Akosombo International School and Garrison Basic School.
The ‘little Zebras’ have a good base with one of the most talented players in effervescent point-guard Daniel Owusu and his little brother Isaac Owusu.
In terms of the frontcourt, the Cape Coast-base side is complimented by the machine-like effectiveness of Debrah and the consistency of Ishaq coupled with the cameo contributions of Anim, Bright and Boateng.
The biggest strength for the Central regional Champions is precisely the ingenuity of captain Daniel Owusu. He is one player capable of putting up MVP performances because he’s a real game changer.
When the promising starlet brings his ‘A’ game plan into the Championship, it’s going to be difficult for many opponents contain him, or even slow the young guard down.
Averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game at the one-day championship, the final year student is one talents who will surely prove a big asset when he get admission at the senior level of the oldest school in Ghana next year.
The biggest chink in his breastplate is his free-throws shooting.
But there are few identifiable weaknesses which must be addressed by the technical team before the championship. Lack of stamina, over-elaboration while on the offensive with some bit of defensive frailties should be tackled ahead of the championship.
However their biggest attribute is that time and time again, they show their big game mentality by winning close games on a regular basis. Therefore if they are involved in any tight affairs, my money is always Mfantsipim!!
The Eastern Regional Champions makes their debut appearance in the finals with high hopes after putting up some swash-buckling and eye catching performances during the qualifying campaign.
The Betom-based school knocked out last year’s bronze medalist Anglican Junior High School to great acclaim and that alone will keep their opponent on their toes.
Perhaps their new found momentum could continue on Accra soil and they have a simplistic look about them although a lack of dept could prove costly despite their huge physical presence.
They have the comb skills Prince Twumeh who can always explode at any time while the shy-looking Gilbert Sosa and Frank Owusu are both capable of providing an inside-outside threat.