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The Western Show Boys
Sekondi Eleven Wise, affectionately called the Western Show Boys are arguably the most popular and best supported football team in the Western Region of Ghana.The club has a long standing tradition of playing the type of fascinating and entertaining game punctuated with eye pleasing dribbling that keep fans on their toes.
Eleven Wise may lose a match, but at the end of play you have had plenty to cheer about. Supporters of the club are not used to paying too much premium on the results of the game so long as they had a lot to cheer during the match. A famous saying by one stylish player of the club after the team had lost a match was that “Even though we were beaten we dribbled them”. See that?
One may not be wrong to conclude that it is this credo by both players and supporters of the club that has seen the club going in and out of the national premier league twice since the inception of this national pastime of Ghana 51 years ago. Indeed Eleven Wise were one of the eight pioneer teams that started the league in 1958. The others were local rivals, Sekondi Hasaacas, Accra Great Olympics, Accra Hearts of Oak, Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Kumasi Cornerstone, Cape Coast Mysterious Dwarfs, and Cape Coast Venomous Vipers.Eleven Wise were the third club to win the league after Hearts of Oak (1958) and Asante Kotoko(1959).
The 1960 success story of Eleven Wise was dramatic and amazing. It was a sharp rise from the bottom of the table the previous year to the top. Led by prolific scorer, Edward Acquah, the “Show Boys” fought a terrific neck and neck race with Asante Kotoko, the defending champions.
By the last game of the season, Eleven Wise had scored 21 points and Asante Kotoko were only a point behind them. Wise had a final game against local rivals Hasaacas while Kotoko also had a local derby against Cornerstone. Hasaacas almost succeeded in jolting the championship hopes of Eleven Wise by taking a confident lead for 84 minutes. In fact, it was an 85th minute equalizer by Edward Acquah “the man with the sputnik shot” that revived the spirits of Wise.
With fingers crossed, Eleven Wise waited impatiently for the result of the Kotoko- Cornerstone encounter in Kumasi. Then the news flashed. Kotoko had been beaten 2-0 by Cornerstone. You can imagine the excitement in the camp of Eleven Wise. Kumasi Cornerstone by their action had won the cup for Eleven Wise.
Unfortunately after this victory Eleven Wise have hardly come near the title, while Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak have between them won the trophy 41 times with Kotoko just a shade ahead.
In contrast, Eleven Wise have ignobly tasted demotion twice. The first demotion was in the 1990-91 season, when they sunk along with Bofoakwa Tano, Upper West Heroes and Fosu Soccer Missionaries .The “Show Boys” admirably bounced back to premier status four years later and took active part in the 1995-96 season. Unfortunately this was short-lived and in 1998, they went down again to the lower division where they have remained for the last decade.
The good news is that “The Western Show Boys” have earned premier status again and they will compete in the upcoming 2008-2009 season. Thanks to Scottish Coach Edward Gallagher, Eleven Wise shone brilliantly in the middle league and their 2-0 win over Samartex in the crucial decider was good enough to see them in premier league action after 10 solid years in the wilderness.
An elated Coach Gallagher told reporters after the qualification “it’s a great feeling and I am happy for the supporters”.The supporters must really have a happy feeling, because the large capacity new Chinese-built sports stadium in Sekondi is going to be the home grounds for Eleven Wise and if patronage of matches could match what we saw during the Black Stars- Lesotho World Cup qualifier at the same venue, then the Show Boys could be in business for a long time to come.
Perhaps at this stage a little history of Sekondi Eleven Wise will be appropriate. The club was formed in 1919, deriving its strength from Railways workers in Sekondi. Inspired by burly forward player Edward Acquah, Eleven Wise won the national league in 1960 after two fruitless attempts. The formation of model club Real Republikans in 1961, robbed Wise of their livewire, Edward Acquah and the “Show Boys” made a poor show in the defence of the league title.
The club continued to draw the crowd over the years with their attractive brand of football but to no avail till 1967, when they came near national honours once more. They met Cape Coast Mysterious Dwarfs in the final of a special knock-out competition to determine the champion club of Ghana.
The pulsating Cup Final and the hectic replay both ended 1-1 and Dwarfs won by the toss of a coin. It was not until 1975 that Wise, the club that has produced most of Ghana’s leading ball artists, reached the FA Cup Final for the first time and were beaten by Asante Kotoko.
Wise were in the FA Cup Final again in 1979 and even though they lost to Hearts 2-1, they earned the right to represent Ghana in the 1980 Africa Cup Winners Cup competition. Hearts had already won the league. Wise crashed out at the quarter- final stage to MAHD Club of Algeria in the continental series.
The year 1982 saw Wise in the FA Cup Final once more, this time against local rivals, Hasaacas and they won thus entering Africa in 1983.
Inspired by flamboyant chairman Dr John Ackah Blay-Miezah, with his catchy ”Akarakachii” slogan, Wise strengthened their side with a number of talented players, including almost all those who had deserted the club, but they bowed out quite early in the continental series via Agaza of Togo.
Undaunted, Blay Miezah pumped in more money to rejuvenate Wise. He took the entire registered players of 35 and their technicians on a three- week expensive tour of Brazil to tune them up for the 1984 league. No wonder they put up spirited performance to earn the second spot behind Accra Hearts of Oak. Since then, the “Western Show Boys” has been also-runs in the league and having been relegated twice from the premiership.
However, reports from Sekondi indicate that there is a fresh wind of success blowing in the camp of the club and they are bent on giving the traditional front runners a hot chase this time.
May I take this opportunity to welcome the “Show Boys” to the new sports stadium in Sekondi, with the hope that the club and their supporters will make the new stadium as famous as the erstwhile Gyandu Park.
Cheers everybody and keep loving sports
i hope they stay in the premier league for a longwhile....