Amid all the razzmatazz, the draw for the 2014 Sprite Ball threw up some intriguing storylines, whetting people’s appetite for next week’s Sprite Ball festival in Accra.
There is a group of death
It may have become a well-won draw cliché, but there’s no doubt the group of death remains, as it were, alive and kicking in 2014.
Basketball hipsters may be drooling over the possibility of watching Keta Senior High, Prempeh College, Ghana Lebanon and Islamic School as well as Adisadel College, but the wider public hankers for heavyweight scraps.
The 2014 Sprite Ball Championship stage has obliged, with Group B — containing KSTS, Mawuli, Opoku Ware and West African Senior High — pipping Group C (GSTS, Kumasi Anglican, Akwamuman and Presbyterian Senior High and Mfantsipim, St Augustine’s, Accra High and St Johns based in pool D.
Could it be the deadliest group ever seen at the High School level? It certainly appears to be a cut above last year’s draw which saw only Akwamuman masterminding defending champions and three-time winners Mfantsipim only defeat last season.
Each of the fixtures has captivating connotations with KSTS keen to avenge last year’s defeat to eventual winner Mfantsipim.
For those fans fearing that their teams mortality will be cruelly exposed at the El-Wak stadium, there is some reassuring news — those who survive a group of death appear to have a better chance of winning the competition.
Ketasco’s first curtain-raiser
The opening match of the Sprite Ball Championship and the opening ceremony that accompanies it, has been a regular standalone showpiece over the past seven years.
While plenty of opening ceremonies have left us agog, the action on the court has been equally mind-blowing. There have been some memorable moments including upset suffered by some really big teams in the competition.
Ketasco, very dominant in the Volta Region and also a key force at the national level are back in the midst again where they will take on Ghana Lebanon and Islamic School in the first game at the El-Wak stadium.
For the Keta-based school, the 2014 edition of the Sprite Ball Championship present another golden opportunity to lay their icy hands on the glittering trophy.
Fingers are expected to be firmly crossed ahead of the opening game at the El-Wak stadium as many would expect Ketasco to open the lid and raise the curtain in style.
They are dab hands at getting the party started, having done so previously and will be aiming for a repeat of previous fine performances.
Mfantsipim tricky tie against old foes Augusco.
Two schools that have remained avid rivals in the Central Region and you will not be far from reaching the conclusion that defending champions Mfantsipim and St Augustine’s College come to the plate.
Two of the most powerful schools in the coast town of Cape Coast have drawn each other in group D in what will be a BIG cracker at the El-Wak stadium.
Perhaps it was not the ideal draw both schools had expected but as destiny would have it, the two schools will re-ignite their age-long rivalry at this year’s Sprite Ball Championship in the capital.
Mfantsipim’s dominance under threat
Three-time winner Mfantsipim faces a real threat of losing their grip following the departure of many of the players who wrote their name in the history books.
For an incredible three year running the Cape Coast giants have remained peerless and impregnable at the High School level where they have won the national championship in the last three editions- a feat yet to be matched by any school in Ghana.
Last year’s losing finalist Koforidua Secondary Technical School (KSTS), Presec-Legon, Opoku Ware, Prempeh College and Ghana Secondary Technical School have shown lots of determination to win the title.
KSTS coach Eric Larbi sums it up when he said: “There were not going to be many scenarios where we were going to be jumping for joy. It doesn’t surprise us. I suppose one positive is that we also have a strong team and will continue to push for the title.
Mfantsipim will need to juggle up if they are to make it four times in a row. It’s a task which will be extremely difficult to surmount but they found themselves in such a scenario in the past and yet managed to daze their critics.
Presec face tricky path to redemption
After the thrilling high of 2007 glory in the capital came a crushing sense of underachievement over the last five years.
The Legon-based side went from the top at the High School level to suffer some humiliating defeats over the last couple of years.
Reflecting on their recent performances in the championship shows that the Accra-based side have flattered to deceive and will need to buckle up this year.
The 2014 Sprite Ball Championship represents a shot at redemption and, having reached the finals and enjoyed an unbeaten qualifying campaign, the former champions will be out to put the ghosts of the past behind them.
It had been suggested that a failure to secure a place among the top seeds — thanks to an abysmal recent record has seen them drawn Ghana Secondary Technical School, Akwamuman and Kumasi Anglican and should prove an intriguing tussle.
Meeting of old faces
Group A in the girls division brings out some chilling memories after three ‘old friends’ were brought together in what is expected to be a thrilling affair.
Holders Aggrey Memorial will clash with 2012 champions Yaa Asantewaa in what is expected to be a keenly contested affair at the El-Wak stadium with their games against Tema Senior High throwing up another mind-blowing contest.
The 2014 Sprite Ball Championship, which takes places between January 10-11 at the El-Wak stadium, is just clicking into full gear ahead of the big game.
I wish wass will also be strong contendence for the trophy