When the second transfer window opened, Liberty Professionals signed five new players.
In every transfer window, a joke is shared about a club that is so desperate to sign any player who come their way. If you were to stray into the path of their chief executive, he would open the checkbook and sign you willy-nilly!
In the last transfer window, that club was Liberty Professionals. Former Asante Kotoko left-back Evans Owusu joined on a free transfer. Prosper Ahiabu joined. Exciting youngster Hudu Issa and Brite Andoh were signed. Razak Simpson joined from Ashantigold SC. George Amoako also returned from the Maghreb region, ostensibly to rescue the sinking ship.
Panic buys? Maybe. But could you blame them? Expecting a relegation-threatened team not to reshuffle the non-performing team is akin to asking a drowning man not to swim. Impossible.
Regardless, the average mind interpreted this to mean Liberty was clutching at straws with these signings. However, scrutiny would reveal a simple truth; there was a science behind these acquisitions. The common characteristic among all these signings was that each player was joining from an unsuccessful spell and needed a platform to reassure of their quality. They lacked no desire. They needed no motivation. They had the right attitude for a club looking to fight relegation.
But more importantly, each one of them had a particular skillset that the club was lacking. Before their arrival, a common feature in Liberty’s performances was the lack of spine and an inability to control games. If teams had any spell of momentum, Liberty was likely to concede and it did not even have to be a sustained spell. They were pregnable. That has changed. Thanks in no small part to Razak Simpson, Evans Owusu, and Adaraman Yahaya. The individual talent is clear.
Owusu has been particularly interesting to watch. While his tidy defensive work is hard to miss, it is something else that has been incredible to watch. And it is not anything extraordinary; something quite simple. On occasion, he can tuck in-field. This increases the numbers in the middle while giving Liberty a compact block. It is often brief but always enough – along with the team’s discipline – to take the wind out of the opponent’s sail. For a previously brittle team, gains like this need to be appreciated.
Perhaps the most significant factor is that they complement each other so well. The erratic defending and avoidable errors no longer characterise Liberty’s defense. This is not the rearguard that let in 13 goals in four games; not in outlook or output. They have come a long way.
That is not all. There is progress in other areas too.
The midfield pair of Prosper Ahiabu and George Amoako, offers have a good mix of style and steel. The pair, while not being prime as Osei-Kuffour and Adjah Tetteh, has worked a treat. Perhaps the defense can function properly because the midfield is efficient too. The midfield no longer invites pressure on the rest of the team. While not having the best midfielders in the league, Liberty seems to have enough for the job these days.
In the 0-1 win over Eleven Wonders, coach Andy Sinason chose Ahiabu and Amoako. It was an interesting selection. There were moments where the pair had the game on lock. If they control games and set the foundation for Liberty to stay in games without conceding, Liberty should beat the drop. Thus far, they have been up to the task and there is little to suggest a derailment on the horizon.
Further up the pitch, there is good news too. Adamu Awudu offers some inventions and crafts not seen before. Not since former MVP, Latif Blessing left the club for pastures anew. His addition makes Liberty less predictable. They can now wreak havoc through the middle or out wide. Whichever route they choose to goal, Abraham Wayo, and Awudu.
Can Liberty beat the drop?
Liberty already appears to have more than the sum of its parts. They are beginning to show signs of life and that can only be the joint impact of coaches Sellas Tetteh and Andy Sinason.
In the grand scheme of affairs, it takes 40 points to survive in the Ghana Premier League. At 21 points, Liberty needs 19 more to stay afloat. It is a long shot, I know, but Liberty is quite capable of picking 20 points from the remaining games needed to beat the drop.
Victor Atsu Tamakloe
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