22 Mar

Things Paga Crocodiles Stars must do to avoid relegation

The Ghana national division one league kicks off this weekend across the various league centers and the upper east region will be represented by Paga based side, Crocodiles Stars, who are making their debut in the league.
Ater gaining qualification for the second tier league through the Upper East regional division two league in September 2017, management of the team took it upon themselves to give their home grounds, The Paga town park a facelift to meet the requirement of hosting division one league matches and any other sanctioned GFA competition. 
It was all joy for both management and fans of the club when the Club Licensing Board (CLB) approved their home grounds for this season division one league campaign. This now makes the Paga town park the only standard park with green grass and a dressing room in the whole of the Upper East region and I must commend the management of the team for renovating their pitch, which means the team will not have to travel outside the region to honor their home games. 
This pitch has virtually brought joy to football fans who are now guaranteed of watching the division one league in Paga since the team will not be moving out of the region due to lack of a standardized pitch like we saw last year when Bolga All Stars after qualifying for the premier league had to moved their home grounds to the Tamale Utrecht Academy Park and we all know how they ended.
The league is starting this Saturday and if the sweat and resources that were pump into giving the Paga town park a facelift is not to go waste then it is up to the team to make sure they put up their very best to at least beat the drop at the end of the season.
Haven being involved with three different teams ie, Bolga Juventus, No Weapon Fc and recently Bolga All Stars in the division one league and the premier league level, I can say the division one league is the most difficult competition in Ghana- at this stage as a football club you know you are one step away from joining the elite division and another step away from going back where you came from (Division two).
In the last five seasons our region has created a bad niche for itself in the division one league as a region that either produced one of the four relegated teams or a team will pulled out of  the league.
And if Paga crocodile Stars must survive relegation then they must put at eye on the following.
Firstly, they would have to  make home advantage account: You are good as a goner when you allowed teams come and pick point(s) at your own backyard. Since the 2014/15 season that the all play all came into being, all the clubs that have qualified for the premier league have not lost more than two games at home and same can be said of the team that survived relegation.
A team that gathered 41 points at the end of the season is assured of staying in the league and this is where the home advantage comes in. Yes, home advantage; don’t be deceived that home advantage doesn’t matter these days in football.  Every team have a certain urge when playing at home and in the division one league your home matches determines how far you can go in the league.
Crocodiles stars do not need to worry themselves looking for away points if their target this season is to stay in the league, they can emulates what Bolga All Stars did in 2016 when on their way to premier league football there picked 41 points from the 45 available at home, meaning they won 13 matches and drew two at home.
Secondly, the role of fans must be key. The fans must make the PagaTown Park a fortress for away teams and if the team must perform well at home a lot will depend on the home fans. The supporters must always turned up for the team's home matches and support the players on the field of play, even when things are not going well on the field of play the fans must not stop urging the team on and singing on top of their voices to create a hostile atmosphere for the visiting clubs.
Even if a referee have the intention of cheating you when he sees a huge number of fans at the park he will not dare do it. But I must add that fans should avoid going into altercation or throwing objects aim at the match officials or the opponents as that could lead to a ban of the venue.
Furthermore, the majority of the work is going to be done by the technical team and the playing body because no matter the efforts of management or the number of fans who will turn up each match day to cheer the team on if the performance of the players are below par nothing can give them the three points in the  match.  
The technical team must build a team solid enough to fight on no matter the opponent they face and I am happy the team have about five players that played in the premier league last season with Bolga All Stars and also a few others who have played in the division one league before. Those players must use their experience to impact on the other players in order to achieved the desired results.
I have watched them trained a few times and I must say the quality of the team is good and it is my hope the coach can have a good blend of them to get the needed results.
The discipline level of the players must be top notch so they don’t pick silly suspensions in the cause of the season to disrupt the plans of the technical team, the technical team too, must have the valor to use players who can perform not players who have names or see themselves as stars.
The approach to away matches must definitely be different from home matches, as you are gunning to win most of your points at home also know that the team you are playing away too are also going to throw everything in to win at home and you must have certain pragmatic approach to those matches.
One thing I have observed about the division league is the role management of the clubs play. Don’t leave the job alone to the technical team if you want your team to survive and don’t also interfered in the work of the technical team, when you are not happy with their input and output kicked them out of the team rather than trying to make technical/tactical decisions for them, this may sow a seed of discord which in the long run would cripple the team.
Yes, everybody needs money to take care of his or her needs but mind you, motivation is not all about money,  travelling with the team, talking to the team ahead of matches and relating easily with the team in itself help build a good rapport between management, technical team, playing body and the fans as well.
Management must also be wary of litigation as zone one is noted for being the zone with the most protest cases almost every season. Last season alone only Kintampo FC didn't file a protest case but the remaining 15 teams had one protest case or the other.
Don't suffer on the field of play to gain valuable points only to lose them to boardroom decisions. 
Division one league is never an easy league and if Paga Crocodiles will do well, all sports loving fans in the region must help the team as they are now representing the entire region not just the paga community. The success of the team will bring joy to us all and we all must support them to succeed.
Almost all the teams are geared up for the start of the league and I know it will not be easy for a newly promoted team like Crocodiles Stars but they can take a cue from Bolga All Stars who in their debut season finished in the 3rd position and qualified for the premier league on their third attempt.  
I`m confident with the zeal shown by the club's CEO Ninkiema Abdul Aziz and the rest of the management team. They will perform beyond expectations and I wish them well in their maiden campaign.
Paga Crocodile stars are the only division one team from the Upper East region and will battle 15 other teams from the Northern, Upper West and Brong Ahafo regions in the national division one league, Zone One. 
They start their league campaign against former premier league outfit Berekum Arsenals at the Paga town park on Sunday. 
By: Abagna Jose Nelson | Sports Journalist - GBC URA RADIO - Bolgatanga.
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