Kpando Heart of Lions will return to the betPawa Premier League next season after winning zone three of the Access Bank Division One League with five games to end the season.
Eight years after suffering demotion to the second-tier division of Ghana football, Lions roared back to the topflight league after picking the first of three qualification tickets in the Division One League as runaway leaders of the zone with a 16-point gap. Their qualification to the premier league was sealed after their nearest challengers, Vision FC, lost 0-2 to Attram De Visser last Saturday.
As a result, Lions became zonal champions last Saturday after opening a 16-point gap ahead of second-placed Vision FC even before honouring their 25th week clash with Golden Kick FC at the Tema Sports Stadium yesterday.
Two-time winners of the GHALCA Top 4 competition and the 2009 SWAG Cup winners, Lions secured the zonal triumph with impressive statistics. They defeated Susubribi 1-0 for their 18th win in 24 games, with two draws and four losses as the highest scoring side (29 goals) and best defence (nine goals conceded).
Yesterday, the Kpando-based side put the icing on their qualification after defeating Golden Kick SC 4-2 at Tema, with Mustapha Yakubu scoring all four goals for Lions who took a 2-0 first-half lead.
After recess, the home side stormed back strongly and scored two minutes into the second half through Ezekiel Nettey before Benjamin Bentum scored the equalising goal in the 63rd minute to put the game at 2-2.
However, Yakubu showed his class with two late goals in the 76th and 85th minutes to ensure a commanding victory for the zonal champions who now top the table with a 19-point lead over Vision FC.
Lions will be joined to the premiership by winners of zones A and B of the Access Bank Division One League which could go to the wire.
Nations FC lead the Zone Two league table with a four-point gap over second-placed Skyy FC with a game in hand, while Zone One will head into a playoff between the winners of Zone One A and Zone One B.
Currently, Techiman Eleven Wonders lead Zone One A league table and have opened a five-point lead over second-placed Debibi United FC after the 25th week, while Bofoakwa Tano FC top Zone One B table with a 12-point gap over their nearest rivals, Young Apostles FC, after the 25th week matches last weekend.
Source: graphic online