The Ghanaian giants who won the CAF Champions League in 2000 and clinched the maiden edition of the CAF Confederation Cup in 2005 turned 106 years on Saturday but so many things are tearing apart at the club.
Hearts of Oak, a club formed on November 11, 1911, has won the Ghanaian league title 20 times, lifted the West African country’s FA Cup 10 times and is considered one of the giants on the African continent. And, produced many great players including former Juventus star Stephen Appiah, Mohammed Polo, Joe Addo, Shamo Quaye,Yaw Preko and many others.
But, sadly the club has no infrastructure in place to boast of.
Prior to the club’s 106th years anniversary Executive Board Chairman of the club and majority shareholder Togbe Afede XIV promised highly to the Phobian faithfuls pledging to begin work on the Pobiman Project.
The powerful king mentioned among other things that a mini-stadium and multi-purpose training complex would be constructed to begin a new journey for the club.
A visit by ace Ghanaian journalist Henry Asante Twum revealed a sharp contrast to the vision and promise espoused by the Executive Board Chairman of the club.
Sadly for the Phobian fraternity, the dream training complex of the club has now turned to a grazing field where cattle and sheep claim their breakfast, lunch and dinner as they exploit the vegetable to their gain.
Hearts of Oak, one of the oldest clubs on the African continent, are peers with the likes of Egyptian giants Ahly, Zamalek, Esperance de Tunis and are even older than Bidvest Wits University FC, Club Africain and Al Masry.
But, Hearts of Oak are no where near them in terms of success off the pitch of play.
Hearts still play their home games at the Accra Sports Stadium and are sometimes hauled off by Ghana’s National Sports Authority – the body that manages the various state stadiums in the West African country.
The club has the second biggest following in Ghana after Asante Kotoko with an estimated local following of over 7 million.
But Hearts are missing the eye for business and how to turn these advantages to commercial positives and redirect the course of the club to success.
A look back at the state of the club on their 106th anniversary should leave nothing but tears in the eyes of every faithful of the Oak tree.
And, until those men arrive from Turkey to begin the development phase of the training complex at Pobiman the club continues to sink down a real picture of their trophilessness since 2009.
A club that was pitched to face the likes of Real Madrid just 17 years ago is dying down gradually and slowly.
Photo Credit: Henry Asante Twum
By: El Akereko
Follow the writer on Twitter: @AkwasiAkyereko