The 2014 UPAC Championship is set to roll out on November 29 and BASKETBALLghana.com Editor-in- Chief Patrick Akoto explores the history and chances of the FOUR Greater Accra institutions ahead of the hugely anticipated championship.
Accra Polytechnic, University of Ghana, University of Professional Studies and Central University will slug it out during the Special Edition of the tournament at the University of Ghana main basketball court/
It’s been a long, eventful time for the various teams ahead of what is expected to be a taciturn and exciting contest among the leading basketball tertiary institutions in the West African country.
The game will officially tips off later this month but at least one storyline worth following is the philosophy and mental approach of the teams ahead of their involvement.
With the big talk over, consider the dog days of tertiary basketball with real basketball about to commence in earnest.
Even those far from contention can get excited about the prospect of competition returning at its highest level.
While we know not every team is a contender at this juncture, we do know every organization plays the game for a reason. Some have immediate success on their minds, while some have tunnel vision for the future.
Regardless of where your team stands, we can rejoice that a new year is on the horizon.
Basketball is back, and there’s plenty to talk about. This year’s UPAC games is expected to be brewed with loads of ingredients such as stress, weather, fun, competition, friendship, bragging efficacy and team unity.
University of Ghana, Legon
The University of Ghana is undoubtedly Ghana’s foremost University and have demonstrated their basketball artistry over the years.
They have enjoyed man successes and endured difficult times during the period but the overriding effect has been their strong mental fortitude in showing up in big and temperamental championships.
They are no novices when it comes to the game having won the GUSA championship on several occasions while mounting the podium to pick silver during the maiden edition of the UPAC championship on home soil and the awards have been limitless.
It’s been a consistent and continuous improvement for the capital-based school.- a statement can be used to describe all aspects of University of Ghana Basketball these past few years. Through the efforts of the coaches and management, both male and female teams grew; as individuals, basketball players, and as team members.
The University of Ghana, in the year 2010, hosted the Ghana Universities Sports Association (GUSA) games, where the Men’s basketball team emerged Champions, winning gold laurels with a 4-0 record.
In the year 2012, the men’s basketball team defended their championship trophy, thrashing host school Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in a blowout game in the finals.
The team had an unbeaten run in the tourney, setting the record for first school to win GUSA Basketball championship in two consecutive years without a loss.
The University of Ghana dished out a fine performance in their debut UPAC games and did not disappoint. Inspired by the likes of Jake Morrison, McMartey Lawer, Uriah Asante Clarke, Kelvin Ankrah, Sena Dela, Nana Osei and Rafiq Mohammed Arthur, the Legon team knew no bounds as they bagged silver in the zone 2 competition but could only manage a fourth-placed finish during the finals. They lost their semi-final contest against eventual winners Accra Polytechnic.
But three years down the line and the story could be told differently with only Nana Osei the only surviving member of the Legon team expected to play in his final game. He has been an integral part of the team for the last nine years and will be on parol probably for the last time.
The team can boast of youth and athleticism with latter day saints like Nana Bissue Yankah (Kronic), Francis Ackah and former Mfantsipim star Maxwell Mod all the frame to make the final cut.
Mod has become synonymous with a few concepts throughout the years with the terms ‘elite forward’ and ‘insane athleticism’ touted as some of the key traits.
He’ll look to cement himself as a top-tier floor general on one of the best teams in the African country.
Small forward Nana Bissue Yankah is the big deal for the Legon team with his amazing skill set in rebounding, athletic, brute and commander on the court.
The University of Ghana basketball team has demonstrated the skills and commitment to continuous improvement which has kept their basketball program competitive in the nation for many years and will be a tremendous potential for continued success.
There is one question to ask when it comes to Accra Polytechnic superstars? The first is how will they play together during the 2014 UPAC games in Accra?
Baniba Dodzie is arguably the best player in Ghana, Daniel Nii Aryee is an established big man who put up video game numbers and Nicholas Amuzu is an ultra-talented point guard and still counting with his awesome attacking flair and instinct.
Put the trio together and you have the best brain of players from the stables of one particular team: ACCRA POLYTECHNIC.
They have built their chemistry over the years to make them the fearsome four in the Accra Poly set-up, chalking massive successes on both the UPAC and GHAPSA front.
In a perfect setting (at least for the Accra-based side), these will be non-issue. This is the perfect opportunity for an eclectic group of players to establish their roles and get to know the tendencies of other emerging talents.
Accra Poly will be favourite for the title in the upcoming UPAC games in the eyes of many, but as we saw with the University of Ghana in 2011, nothing is guaranteed. They must create a cohesive unit, and that starts now.
A Poly is by the far the most established and successful basketball team at the tertiary level and have demonstrated year after year that they are an unconquerable side without a shred of doubt.
They won the UPAC Championship after beating the University of Education, Winneba, in an epic final three years ago at the main court of the University of Ghana.
That feat followed their triumph in the zone 3 qualifiers where they silenced host University of Ghana and made nonsense of their vociferous home supporters to dish out the resounding win.
The performance was pure and simple they thought their host a great basketball lessons-beating their sworn rivals 39-19 to win zone 2 championships.
The two sides met for the first time and veteran Coach Braimah Lawah’s charges silenced the host side in the final game of the one-day competition which attracted a sizeable crowd to the main basketball court of the University of Ghana.
The GUSA Champions found arguably the championships’ best player Emmanuel Dickson too hot to handle as the final year student displayed maturity and power play to help his side clinch the ultimate trophy.
Students of Accra-Poly were there in their numbers and with the presence of the very popular cheer leading group, the ‘Zulu Community’; it was clear from the onset that they were in for the title.
Accra Poly have thus become a demigods at the Polytechnic level where they have dominated the Ghana Polytechnic Games over the past six years.
Their biggest and sworn-rivals the Takoradi Polytechnic will attest to their onslaught and power play.
The Growth of Daniel Nii Aryee (Doggie)
Daniel is a freak, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.
He has successfully proved his doubters wrong. His motor has never been in question, he’s been disciplined on offense and he’s been as effective on the boards as anyone would have hoped.
The worst part about it? He’s ageing.
Many believe the CEPS player is one of the most underrated players in the game’s history despite turning out in big games for the side.
He was one of the standout performers for the side as they clinched the double in 2011 and look the strongest contender to retain their title in the championship.
Nicknamed, Doggie, the impressive player has been an influential member of the CEPS story over the years with his presence expected to serve as real boost to the side ahead of their title defense.
Aryee’s plan of attack will help prevent stagnation from plaguing an otherwise talented offense, but as they say, defense wins championships.
There is no identity crisis on their hands with this year’s championship zooming right under their noses.
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has been touted as the side to pull the plugs on their dominance as they posses some quality in their team.
But A Poly have demonstrated that the get better with good opponent and will relish their chances against them and the other participating schools.
The second edition of the UPAC Games tips off in a couple of weeks, and just as always, the new campaign will bring with it an exciting new batch of rookies and other young breakout stars ready to dominate the season.
The 2014 edition of the tertiary basketball competition will bring new talents under one umbrella and execute an agenda which will earn them the title and the bragging right for a one-year.
The University of Professionals Studies (UPSA)
The University of Professional Studies (UPSA) is a young and promising team ready to deliver a masterclass during their debut appearance in the competition.
The Accra-based school will come under microscope when the championship zooms into action later in October. They have a promising squad ready to challenge other established teams in the prestigious championship.
UPSA resemble a gifted side which can cause an upset with an upper ceiling top of the agenda.
Coach Emmanuel Essel Wobil impact (Ghanaa)
UPSA is a team in motion and progress and will be exciting one to watch especially with master tactician Emmanuel Essel Wobil, nicknamed, ‘Ghanaa’ directing affairs from the touchlines.
The former University of Ghana coach is famous for transforming teams and making them unconquerable at the highest level.
Coach Ghanaa as he is affectionately called is a master brain and one who is in the process of making UPSA a strong force.
UPSA placed fourth at this year’s GUSA Games to underline their potential as perhaps a strong force at the tertiary level in the West African country.
The statistics may not be popping but they have depth in strength with their great defensive abilities. They are a quick side and that quickness has allowed them to have some of the finest backcourt defenders in the game today.
The put up great numbers during the GUSA Games and will be a force to contend at this year’s championship in the capital.
Wobil is simply a juggernaut when it comes to coaching and will provide the real steel to the side in the debut season.
He has stockpiled young talent and assembled one of the best up-and-coming cores ahead of the championship.
Their roster features a number of lottery picks such as .Abban, Frank Paa kwesi, .Cyprian Adusei, Delvin Bayonne, Frank Adoble, Gerald Obeng, Isaac Martey, Ebenezer Nartey, Kwarteng Amponsah, Obeng Francis Kumi, .Ekow Ayen and Emmanuel Nii Okai
They have young talent at every position and this team could be very good in several years, if UPSA’s coaching staff is able to maximize the group’s potential.
Coach Wobil is thrilled to work with this young core and will be one of the side’s to watch at this year’s UPAC Games.
History of UPSA
The University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) is a public university that provides both academic and business professional education in Ghana. With over forty (40) years of experience, the University has gained a reputation as the oldest professional accountancy and management tuition provider having many of its products in key leadership positions in Ghana and elsewhere. The University was the first and is still the only public institution with the mandate to offer both academic degrees and provide training for higher Professional education in Ghana. The University currently has a student population of about ten thousand (10,000).
The University was founded in 1965 as a private professional business education tuition provider and was taken over by government in 1978 by the Institute of Professional Studies Decree, 1978 (SMCD 200). It was subsequently established as a tertiary institution with a mandate to provide tertiary and professional education in the academic disciplines of Accountancy, Management and other related areas of study by the Institute of Professional Studies Act, (Act 566), 1999.
The then IPS had been offering tuition for various business professional programmes that were internationally recognized. In this respect, the University has contributed immensely to the teaching and practice of Accountancy and Management in Ghana.
In September 2005, the then Institute introduced Bachelor Degree Programmes in its various mandated disciplines to give meaning to the IPS Act 566. It received a Presidential Charter in September 2008, conferring on it the status of a fully-fledged public university. The University currently offers Undergraduate and Master’s Degrees in several programmes. The combination of scholarship with professionalism is the foundation of the university’s unique profile.
The development of the initial and new range of academic programmes coupled with trends in tertiary education at both local and international levels called for an amendment of the existing Act 566 of 1999. Subsequently, the University of Professional Studies Act, 2012 (ACT 850) was enacted to rename the Institute as a University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA).
Central University College
Central University College is relatively unknown when it comes to basketball at the tertiary level.
They are hugely regarded as the dark horse of the new era and will enter the 2014 UPAC Basketball Championship with high hopes.
Former Ghana Secondary Technical School captain Sydney Larbi will herald an exciting and emerging team ready to take the tertiary level by storm.
A school with no basketball history could be a threat to many of the so-called established basketball schools.
One can bet that Fayad Muslim, Airon Dinku, Derrick Amfo, Junior Awuletey, Ajei Darko, Francis Anaman, Rodney Amankwah Addo, Ernest Annun and Perry Mohammed will be determined to make their institution proud.
History of Central University College
Central University College (CUC) is a non-profit making educational initiative of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), to provide Christian-based tertiary education for the expansion of God’s Kingdom.
It has its origins in a short-term pastoral training institute, which was started in 1988 by ICGC. It was later incorporated in June 1991 under the name Central Bible College. The name was later changed to Central Christian College in 1993.
The College later upgraded its programmes to the baccalaureate level. In line with our national aspirations, the College expanded its programme to include an integrated and practice-oriented business school (the School of Business Management and Administration). To reflect its new status as a liberal arts university, the name was changed to Central University College in 1997.