Santasi became the first team to win all three preliminary round matches in the one-month old 2023 MTN Ashantifest Community Soccer tournament after dominating Zone D as the group stages concluded at the Atonsu Astro Turf Park over the past weekend.
Determined to outlast a high scoring field who all banged in goals in avalanches against a hapless Adum, Santasi remained unfazed by Kwadaso’s 6-1 whitewash of the aforementioned whipping boys in match one and romped to a comfortable 2-0 win over the Atonsu hosts in their opening game on Friday.
The strikes of Ballack and Charles Kamara Gyamfi proved decisive for all 3 points in what appeared a clear 3-way battle for the two remaining qualification slots to the next phase of the now 2-month competition for community soccer teams spread across the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi.
Santasi then strolled past Adum 4-0 in their second game to grab maximum points, which was consolidated with a 2-1 defeat of Kwadaso in the decider to make it an unprecedented 100% in the opening phase of a competition that has now expanded to an unprecedented 16-team event following the successes of 2021 and 2022 which had just 8 and 12 competing sides respectively.
Zones A, B and C had already settled their battles to elect their two top teams each for the last 8 over the previous three weekends, a line up now completed by Santasi of course and the team they beat to top place in Zone D, Kwadaso.
After routing Adum in their first match, Kwadaso went on to defeat Atonsu 2-1 in their second game on the double strike of Emmanuel Owusu Boakye to seal qualification even before their loss to Santasi in the final game.
Atonsu hitman, Richmond Antwi scored their consolation goal against Kwadaso and he went a step further in their merely academic final game against Adum, becoming the first player to score five goals in a singe match in the history of this tournament as his side strolled to a historic 7-2 win.
Antwi’s tally of 6 goals also put him atop the scorers chart even as his team bowed out. He is followed closely by Kwadaso’s Owusu Boakye who has 5 goals on the back of a hat-trick against Adum and the double against Atonsu.
Match day one rocks the Otumfuor Park in Dichemso when Group A winner, Ejisu take on Group B runner-up, Ashtown in the first quarter final whilst Group B champs, Dichemso face Group A second placed, Amakom.
The final two semi finalists will be decided at the same venue the following day as Group C toppers, Suame battle Group D runners-up, Kwadaso in the third last 8 tie before Group D winners, Santasi test their 100% credentials against Bantama who of course finished second in Group C.
The four quarter final victors will advance to the semi finals scheduled for a week later as the pursuit of the ultimate trophy and GH₵20,000 (twenty thousand Ghana Cedis) cash prize continues for now 8 of 16 sides that began this year’s competiton.