PREVIEW DOL Zone 1: The Tamale Derby, RTU looking for revenge as they hurtle towards Promotion

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The Tamale Derby is always action packed
The Tamale Derby is always action packed

Real Tamale United are hurtling towards promotion into the Top Flight of Ghana Football after an incredible 2020-21 season , but with their City rivals looking for ways to return to the top after dropping some valuable points, can the Pride of the North prevail on derby day and continue their remarkable run?

This Sunday sees RTU embroiled in another Tamale derby when Tamale City play host to the Pride of the North in a clash that will focus the minds of everyone. A rivalry almost as heated as that with Manchester United vs Liverpool.

It is the first time Tamale City and RTU have gone into derby weekend first and fourth in the Division One League, but the contrast in form and fortunes between both sides could not be starker.

Coach Shaibu Ibrahim Tanko’s side have been impressive away this campaign to race 5 points clear of Tamale City at the top of the table, while Hamza Mohammed’s side’s promotion aspirations have fallen away a bit after dropping points against Nkuranza Warriors and Young Apostles.

Many say the form should go out of the window in Derbies like this but it sound a scary proposition for RTU who are playing with smiles on their faces and having fun at this stage of the competition.

Pundits close to Shaibu Ibrahim Tanko believes his style of managing and demanding players to be at their very best to get into the starting line up has helped players like Baba Kushibo, Mustapha Fuseini, Fawzan Dandawa and Bawa Samuel do it for themselves.

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“The Director of Sports at the University For Development Studies ( UDS) knows how to improve players and we’ve seen it time and time again, and the most exciting of them are Baba Kushibo,Ronald Frimpong and Bawa Samuel. The three have been in spectacular form and could go on to be short listed for player of the season for RTU.

On paper, RTU shouldn’t have too much trouble on Sunday if they play anywhere near the level that they are capable of reaching after picking 10 points from a possible 12 in the second round so far.

Tamale City will not be completely lacking in confidence. Last Saturday’s 1-0 win over Nsoatreman FC will have delivered a much-needed morale boost and dampened the ire of their supporters for the time being. They will also know that they have already beaten RTU this season when Coach Shaibu Ibrahim Tanko’s men were unable to recover from an early Sam Otis strike in the first round.

It is imperative, however, that RTU react and continue their fantastic run of victories. Qualifying for the Premier League is now extremely difficult especially in Zone 1 and has been wrenched away from their own hands for the past 9 years. But it is not yet mathematically impossible as they sit top, two points ahead of Steadfast 11 games to go.

Sunday’s match, therefore, is vital for a number of footballing reasons but more important is ensuring that it is a fitting local derby.

By: Sey Mubarick

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