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Sports News of Friday, 6 April 2018


Bonney, Esso and Razak: The Pillars for the Phobians

Very often, we are told football is a team sport but as things evolve, we see that leading lights emerge and do what is necessary for success and no team can escape this truth.

None. Not the 1970 and 1982 Brazil World Cup teams, not Holland’s 1974 team.

They are even the worse example because the men who wore the orange jersey back then were collectively termed “Johan Cruyff’s team”.

That same logic is what the people at Hearts of Oak should see and realise very quickly.

After a tough off-season that saw the exits of Thomas Abbey, Vincent Atinga and Kwame Kizito, the Phobians are trying to resurrect from those flames like the phoenix and that will require a lot of effort.

But they have some very important pieces they can use to help them rebuild the house.

Their victories and draws this season in the Ghana Premier League have been gained from the work of Christopher Bonney, Joseph Esso and Patrick Razak. These are the men who will lead Hearts to big things this season.

It may be only four games into the season but their impact cannot just be ignored.

Hearts have scored five goals so far.

Patrick Razak and Joseph Esso have scored two each with Winfull Cobbinah getting the other. Two of the five have been assisted by Christopher Bonney from the right hand side of defence.

That is a pattern that is very likely to repeat itself a lot more times in the coming games and it will be foolhardy for Hearts not to see the potential firepower in this trio.

Maybe the Phobians did not see it well or maybe they have not realised it but getting Bonney and Esso was great business.

They provide the attacking thrust the team needs to have this season to make a very reasonable push for top places in the league.

Goals from midfielder Thomas Abbey were the primary motors that drove Hearts’s campaign last season especially when the forward players did not get as many as they should have done.

However, somehow, the Phobians, whether by accident or by design, have stumbled on to a combination they should not hesitate to use more so when Winfull Cobbinah seems to be having a quiet season. He is expected to get back to form in coming weeks.

Of course, the benefits of having Esso, Razak and Bonney should not free the other players from working their shifts and head coach, Henry Wellington, must demand this at all moments during the season.

If he fails on that front, all hope in his attacking talents will be built on sand since their gains will be eroded by poor defensive efforts.

But in giving his total trust to forward players like Razak and Esso, the coach must provide, to borrow the term from my basic science class, the viable conditions for them to succeed.

Cobbinah must be played close to Esso, Razak needs the licence to roam from left wing towards goal and Bonney must be permitted to get onto his bike very often to send in the crosses.

The final piece will be the deployment of Malik Akowuah to do a bit more in terms of ball-winning and destruction of the opposition’s groove.

Risks will have to be taken if the rewards will come and Wellington must not be petrified of the big calls. He is managing a big club and that comes with the job.

The season may only be four five matches old but Hearts have been handed what can help them go far.

This is not the time to get theoretical and ponderous.

This is the time to get cracking and using what is available: a trio of Patrick Razak, Joseph Esso and Christopher Bonney.