Soccer News of Tuesday, 18 January 2005
Accra, Jan 18, GNA - There have been a massive increase in the sale of souvenirs and paraphernalia bearing the rainbow colours since Accra Hearts of Oak emerged winners of the 2004 Confederation Cup at the expense of arch rivals, Kumasi Asante Kotoko.
A survey conducted by the GNA Sports on Tuesday, that took the team of reporters to music shops, the Secretariat of the Club and other venues where the items are produced and sold indicates that sales have shot up to over 100 percent.
Items such as flags (big and small), air refreshers, caps, shirts, key holders and stickers among others remain a sell out while a check at the Hearts Shop at the Club's secretariat revealed that recordings on cassettes and CD's of the second-leg match is in high demand.
The basis of the survey is as a result of the sudden high number of fans sporting the rainbow colours including women and children at every corner of the city.
Perhaps, the only odd item that seem not to have any resemblance to the "Rainbow colours" but is still making waves, is a Hip-Life song by one "Bolly" with the track -"You May Kiss the Bride", Mmeh! The song, which has now been coined as, "Now You May Kiss The Cup", Mmeh has assumed a status as the unofficial victory song for the 2004 Confederation Cup Champions.
Mr Richard Quashie, Manager at the Despite Music Shop said there has been increase in the purchase of Bolly's album, which has the "You May Kiss the Bride " track.
Though he doesn't regard the album as a hit, he credited the increment to the Hearts victory and expressed conviction that but for the frequent air plays, the album could have been a complete sell out.
Mr Kwadwo Boateng, a dealer in paraphernalia located around the Kwame Nkrumah Circle told the GNA that, "I can confidently say business is booming after the Hearts victory. The fans are really patronising the items in their quest to celebrate the victory to the letter".
He was convinced that sales may continue to soar between now and February 20, when Hearts take on Enyimba of Nigeria for the Super Cup game billed for Aba, Nigeria.
Mr. Yaw Fosuhene Asare, Manager of the Phobia Shop at the Hearts Secretariat told the GNA that 'we have been compelled to stock the shop with items like shirts, caps, key holders and other items after the Kumasi victory because of the high demands".
He said he was expecting to take stock of new items by the close of this week to satisfy the demands of the supporters who he said are growing impatient by the day due to the shortage.
Kwasi Boateng, a 16 year old hawker, said his daily sales have witnessed an overwhelming increment and the boy who beamed with an understandable smile, added that "I used to sell less than 20 calendars a day, but I now sell over 100 copies daily".
"It would be simply unwise to carry calendars on Kotoko because that reminds their supporters of the anguish and pain they went through and compels them to use foul language whenever one approached them, though their items were a sell out prior to the big match". Yaw Tawiah, a dealer in air refreshers on the "Mortuary Road", Korle Bu Hospital, believes that "sales would continue to soar until the new soccer season commence in April", as announced by the Professional League Board (PLB) on Monday.
On the other hand, Hearts who has emerged the biggest loser, irrespective of the massive increment plans to get tough on these "pirates" in the next few days.
With the excerption of the gains at the Phobia shop, which goes directly into the coffers of the club, the rest find their way into individual pockets with the Club not gaining from any percent of the sales.
The GNA Sports can confirm that the issue would rank high on the team's agenda during the Club's Board meeting slated for the secretariat on Wednesday, January 19.
Mr Ernest Thompson, Board Secretary of the Club in an interview said plans are far advanced to bring the pirates to book in the quest of the Phobians' to amass wealth for the club.
"We are very worried about these development and plan finding the desired solution once and for all when we meet tomorrow", he added. The Club, according to Mr Thompson could resort to both legal and physical options to solve the canker, which he said, "could fetch a fortune for development when well directed".
Mr Thompson said Hearts would target both the hawkers and the "big shots" behind the scene during the 'uprooting exercise'.