Football had been in Ghana long before 1958, as the British introduced what will later become the heart of nation in the early 1900s.
However, 1958 represented a turning point as football was reformed leading to the inception of the national football league.
The Football Association was given the sole mandate of organising club competitions in the country.
The maiden football league which kicked off on July 6, 1958 saw eight clubs; Hearts of Oak, Great Olympics, Asante Kotoko, Cornerstone, Hasaacas, Eleven Wise, Mysterious Dwarfs and Venomous Vipers; compete eagerly in a round robin format.
Hearts of Oak were crowned champions as they finished one point above Kumasi-based side Cornerstone.
However, 62 years later and the Phobians didn’t make use of their head start as rivals Asante Kotoko lead the way in terms of points accumulation since the inauguration of the league.
The fabulous domination
After Hearts won the maiden league, Kotoko responded immediately by winning the league in 1959.
Kotoko would go on to win 16 out of a possible 30 league titles in the next 34 years. Setting a record in the 1963-64 season after becoming the first side to go through the first round of the league without defeat, winning 16 games and drawing one.
The Porcupine Warriors lead the way in terms of total points accumulated since the 1958 season till date with 2,371 points.
A total which is 83 points above rivals Hearts demonstrating just how dominant the Kumasi-based club have been over the years.
With the last 10 winners of the Ghana Premier League averaging just over 55 points, Hearts will need to win two leagues in which Kotoko don’t participate in order to surpass their total points accumulation.
Overall, Kotoko have won 23 Ghana Premier League titles – the most by any team.
Although Kotoko have won just six league titles (excluding the 2019 NC Special Cup) since the turn of the century, they are still four trophies ahead of their closest rivals Hearts.
It’s the nature within which Kotoko won some of those league titles that has ensured that their total points override that of Hearts’ since 1980.
The Porcupine Warriors currently boast of the record of the biggest title winning margin. In the 2007/08 season, Bashir Hayford’s side finished with a staggering 69 points – 16 points above Lions who finished second.
It was a season to remember for Kotoko as they scored an incredible 53 goals in 30 games conceding just 18. Unfortunately, Hayford was sacked shortly after this remarkable feat.
Kotoko have bettered the tally of 69 points in a season although it is not recognised as the highest in the league history.
In 2003, the Porcupine Warriors ended Hearts’ dominance which had seen the Phobians win six league titles in a row.
It required 75 points for Kotoko to snatch the league title from their bitter rivals. A difficult task which was made easier by the acquisition of Charles Taylor from Hearts.
In terms of milestones, the 23 time Premier League champions were the first to hit 1,000 and 2,000 accumulated points in 1989 and 2011 respectively.
The big question remains as to whether Kotoko will be the first team to reach 3,000 accumulated points.
The last time Asantehene’s side won the Premier League was in 2013-14 and for a club of Kotoko’s stature, that is a lengthy period without a league title.
Before the 2019/20 season was cancelled, Kotoko sat in third place just three points behind table toppers Aduana Stars with a game in hand.
The season came with its ups and downs, however, it presented another chance to establish a wider gap between themselves and Hearts.
The Phobians who had a shaky start to the season were wandering around midtable four points behind Kotoko.
On paper, Kotoko have set the ball rolling in terms of transitions as they set their eyes back to the top of Ghana football.
Appointing a new board, placing a ban on player recruitment for a year and the imminent announcement of a CEO who will focus on the business aspect of the club suggests that the Kumasi-based club are eyeing point number 3,000.
They would want to reach that landmark in fascinating style accompanied with some Premier League titles as well.
The fortunes of Kotoko may have been helped by their closest rivals Hearts who have also been on a slump recently.
The Phobians have not won a league title since 2008-2009.
Asante Kotoko have an enormous task ahead especially if they want to replicate their early history form which saw them crowned African club of the 20th century by the International Federation of Football History.
Today, they celebrate being on top in terms of accumulated points from the past 62 seasons.
source: My Joy Online