STYLE OVER SCARS: Legon Cities’ Make-Up Masks Old Realities

Before its team bus — complete with customized number plates, and photos of which lighted up Ghana Twitter — took to the road for a first away Ghana Premier League game this season, a convoy of six SUVs emerged to clear Legon Cities FC’s path, so to speak.

It was a display of opulence as spectacular as anything the league has ever seen. All 18 clubs did play their part in getting top-flight football off to a thrilling return over the weekend, but the best bits belonged to Legon Cities. The glimmering bus made headlines even before the paint had dried off it, but the photoshoot to outdoor the club’s new jerseys was no less impressive. Even at a time when Ghanaian clubs — though late to the party — are beginning to catch up with modern trends of branding, Legon Cities just raised the bar.

Beneath all the glamour, however, is a club and a story we know too well. Until recently, Legon Cities was known as Wa All Stars: a side that conquered the Premier League in 2016, but ended the 2018 campaign bottom of the table. The premature termination of that calendar might have spared All Stars the very real likelihood of relegation but, for a while, the reason for the reprieve itself didn’t appear so positive for the club’s future.

That season, you’d recall, was only aborted because of an exposé on the corruption that gnawed at the very soul of Ghanaian football. Biggest among those implicated in the wide-reaching scandal was Kwesi Nyantakyi, then president of the Ghana Football Association — and All Stars’ chief. Nyantakyi’s fall and the subsequent demise of his career in football administration — the consequence of a lifetime ban handed out by FIFA — left All Stars seemingly orphaned and in a state of limbo. Thankfully, after a change of ownership that was far from smooth, Stallions FC Legon Cities materialized.

The acquisition — details of which remain sketchy — was fronted by former Ghana international John Paintsil, with one Richard Atikpo named as partner. Thus far, a great work of painting over All Stars’ cracks from the final days of Nyantakyi’s regime has been done, and it’s not just about the new kits or the richly assembled fleet of vehicles; a Serbian trainer, Goran ‘Kuc’ Barjaktarević, has been brought in to take charge – quite noteworthy, for a team that has had more success with local coaches over the years – as well as a switch of base from Wa to Accra, Ghana’s capital.

That said, it’s hard to shrug off the feeling that this is very much the same old club with make-up applied. They still turn up for games in All Stars-branded gear, for instance, and the extent to which the club has been renewed should be fully evident as the season stretches along. A top-six target, as revealed by CEO Terry Maxwell Aidam at the unveiling of the new coach, isn’t unrealistic for a former champion, and they’ve started well with a bold draw at Liberty Professionals, but the remainder of the campaign — and even bigger tests, like Friday’s clash with Asante Kotoko — awaits.

They travel in style and are outfitted in same, but would the results follow for Legon Cities?

Source: NY Frimpong — Daily Mail GH

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