Coronavirus and GPL fixtures: How will Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak end the season?

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Giants Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak are likely to miss out on qualification for continental club action next season should the Ghana Football Association (GFA) annul the 2019-20 Premier League (GPL) season as widely speculated, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The football governing body has up to Tuesday to decide the fate of the championship which has ground to a halt since March 15 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The football fraternity is currently undecided over the future of the championship.

While top officials from King Faisal, Berekum Chelsea and Eleven Wonders have advocated for a total cancellation of the season, the likes of Medeama want the championship to continue whenever it is safe to do so.

Others like Hearts, meanwhile, maintain it may be too early to decide the way forward.

Kotoko and Hearts are the two most successful clubs in the history of the Premier League with 23 and 19 titles, respectively.

Decision implications and Africa ambitions

Ghana has two slots for African inter-club competitions: the winner of the Premier League gets the chance to represent the nation in the Caf Champions League while the FA Cup winner is rewarded with a place in the Confederation Cup.

With the 2019-20 FA Cup unlikely to be completed in the case of total cancellation of the football season, Ghana’s 2020-21 continental football tickets are likely to go to the top two teams on the Premier League table.

Cancellation doom for Kotoko?

The Porcupine Warriors currently sit third on the league table, thereby out of the African competition qualification spot.

In that regard, they may hope for the continuation of the top-flight should they be keen on playing in Africa in the next campaign.

Should the current season be allowed to continue, Kotoko’s only hope of playing continental football next season will solely rely on the Premier League as they suffered a stunning Round of 64 FA Cup elimination to second-tier side Asokwa Deportivo in February.

Hearts standing any better?

Ninth on the league table, the Phobians do not stand a chance of playing in Africa should the season be ended abruptly.

Should the campaign continue, however, they could well fight their way to the league title to earn a Champions League slot as the season is yet to reach the midway line.

Again, the Accra-based side could benefit from the continuation of the season as they are still in the running in the FA Cup.

The return date of the Premier League, though, will be far from clear if the GFA opts to maintain the current season as Ghana’s coronavirus case numbers keep rising.

On March 15, when the West African nation placed a ban on all public gatherings including sporting events, forcing the suspension of the Premier League, a total of six cases had been recorded.

As at Saturday May 2, the West African nation has registered 2,074 cases involving 17 deaths and 212 recoveries.

Globally, over 3,415,514 persons have been infected, and 239,823 lives lost resultantly.

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