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1987 League: Hearts and the Musical Youth

The 1987 League saw the return of Accra Standfast to the first division, together with two new entrants, Kumapem Stars of Asante Mampong and Tamale-based Roadmasters, sponsored by the State Transport Corporation.

After being eliminated in both tournaments by Sierra Leone and Cote dIvoire respectively, the league resumed with the seventh round pairings on May 2. But there was another break on May 24 after only four more matches. This was to give the Black Stars sufficienmonths earlier, that at the end of the league there should be a round robin tournament involving the top six clubs to determine the champion club.

Therre paired in Kumasi, whilst Hearts, Olympics and Okwawu United fought it out in Accra. Kotoko topped the Kumasi group after dismissing RTU 3-0 and Cornerstone 1-0. Hearts emerged winners of the Accra Group, beating Olympics 2-1 and Okwawu United 5-2 on penalties, after a 1-1 affair at the end of the stipulated 90 minutes. Great Olympics, having lost 2-1 on both occasions to Okwawu and Hearts, were kicked out of the competition. So were Kumasi Cornerstone who lost 1-0 on both occasions to Asante Kotoko and RTU.

By this special round robin arrangement, the Accra champs were pitched against the Kumasi runners-up and the Kumasi champs faced the Accra runners-up. Kotoko, the Kumasi champs thrashed Okwawu 4-1 in Kumasi and Hearts licked RTU 1-0 in a closely fought affair in Accra. The two great clubs of the nation, Kotoko and Hearts, met in the grand final in Accra and in a not-too exciting encounter characterized by robust play, Kotoko beat the youthful Hearts 2-0 to emerge the undisputed champion club for 1987. In the match for third place Okwawu beat RTU 3-2 with Anthony Yeboah getting a hat-trick. This was on December 10 and so the season, which began on February 21, travelled a whole eleven months.

The middle league, which was to find replacements for demoted Vipers, Zebi and Roadmasters, started 24 hours after the first division champion club had emerged. Ten regional champions, Manchester United (Accra); Neoplan Stars (Ashanti); B.A United (Brong-Ahafo); Dwarfs (Central); Susu Biribi (East); Rangers (Volta) Heroes (Upper West); Gold Stars (West); Great Uppers (Upper East) and Jakpa Warriors (North), faced the starters orders and after a hectic two week contest which saw matches being played simultaneously at the Kaneshie Sports Complex, El Wak Stadium, Legon, Accra Stadium, and Tema, Manchester United, Brong Ahafo United and Mysterious Dwarfs earned the right to join the first division for the 1988 tournament. On the whole the brightest discovery of the season was Hearts midfielder, Shamo Quaye, who showed that with time he could be a great footballer.

Source: kotokoExpress