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Sports Features of Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Source: Anyidoho, Koku

“Anto Na” Hearts Of Oak

Sometimes, I tell myself that I will never “put my mouth” in matters concerning Hearts of Oak but when I have the blue, red, and yellow colours running through my blood system waa waa waa, it becomes extremely difficult to continue to play the ostrich especially in trying moments like these.

For wanting to speak our minds as regards the debilitating state of affairs in which our darling club is enmeshed in, some of us have made enemies out of a group of high-ups in the Hearts of Oak setup who don’t want matters confronting the team to be discussed in the open.

If the idea was to keep Phobia matters indoors and find lasting solutions to them, those high-ups who want all of us to conspire to pull a veil over the rot in the club would have a case.

But here is the case where they want the matters to be kept indoors but happenings on the field of play are making public the serious ailments plaguing the Oak tree.

Out of a possible 33 points from 11 matches, Hearts has bagged only 12, winning only 3, drawing 3, and losing 5.

Currently, Hearts is lying 6th from the bottom and is dancing to the same music as the likes of, Olympics, Tema Youth, Zaytuna, Hassacas, and Real Sportive.

And the most precarious aspect of where Hearts is perched on the league table is the fact that only 3 points separates the Phobians and Olympics, who are propping up the table.

What it means is that should all the other teams apart from Olympics secure 3 points with Hearts losing again, as has become the Oak tree’s current stock-in-trade, then Hearts and Oly will be drowning at the bottom of the ocean.

Once that happens, the Phobians will be tinkering with the prospect of relegation. Relegation; the word just makes me cringe.

On the contrary, bitter rivals, Asante Kotoko, are flying high having bagged a colossal 28 points from the maximum 33, won 9 out of 11 matches, drawn one and lost one.

As it is, with their in-form striker Eric Bekoe bagging his 10th goal of the season over the weekend, the Fabulous boys are on a rollercoaster ride.

My fear for Hearts of Oak, in the face of the kind of low form they are exhibiting, is that, if they are not careful, Kotoko will avenge the 4-0 defeat they suffered in the days of the Ishmael Addos, Emmanuel Adjogus, Emmanuel Osei Kufuors, Charles Taylors, Charles Alloteys, Kenneth Sarpongs, and Jacob Netteys.

That is my fear and I may wake up one of these days to live out that fear of Kotoko giving Hearts of Oak a drubbing-of-a-lifetime considering the goings-on under the Oak tree.

And if that happens, what explanation will the people in charge of the team give us?

After putting some of us topmost on their hate list just because we foresaw the team getting to this point and rightly sounded the warning bells, what will those in charge tell us if Kotoko does not only avenge their 4-0 defeat but go ahead and increase the score line to 5-0 or 6-0? My head is pounding at the thought of such score lines.

Having suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Gabonese side, FC 105, in the first leg of the preliminary stage of this year’s Continental Club’s encounter, our “Never Say Die” spirit may not be energized enough in the second leg to give us the kind of miracle that occurred in the famous Miracle of El-Wak meet which saw Hearts score 3 quick goals in a matter of 5 minutes to dismiss Mulfira Wonderers Club of Zambia in a continental game.

In fact, it would be a blessing for us to get out of this year’s continental tournament early since we are not ready, mentally, physically, and most importantly, financially, for the journey ahead.

I am not too sure how many Phobians still follow the club they love, with the passion of yesteryears.

I agree that it is rather in the hard times that the club needs to be supported the most. But how do we continue to support with body, soul and spirit, when some of the people in charge of managing the club have turned it into their bona fide property and running the show the way Chinese and Indians run their corner shops?

In fact, those corner shops though are one-man shows, are run the way business entities ought to be run; they don’t squander every profit that comes their way without reinvesting it into the business.

I don’t have the statistics offhand but I can risk it and say that Hearts of Oak may have transferred to foreign clubs, more players, than any other club in Ghana.

So what happened to all the money that accrued to the club?

Some people had other ideas for the funds isn’t it? So here we are today, penniless.

We don’t have even a club house or a pitch we can be renting out in these hard times for some small cash to keep body and soul together.

We are dead broke and that is the truth of the matter.

And when you are dead broke, how can you motivate the players to give off their best?

Apart from the players, how can you be able to attract quality technical brains to give the players a sense of direction when you a cash-strapped?

My dear Accra Hearts of Oak, Continental Club Masters (CCM), oldest club in Ghana, 4-0 conquerors of Asante Kotoko, etc, is very sick and is badly in need of urgent life-saving medical attention and all I can drop from my lips, is the words in one of our numerous jama songs - “Anto na Hearts of Oak …”

“Anto na” is a Ga phrase which loosely translated means, “Have you seen”. So, all some of us are saying is, Hearts of Oak, have you seen where you are now?

I pray for a miracle in the life of Hearts otherwise ….