We can’t imagine an exciting Spanish La Liga with Real Madrid and Barcelona’s wings plucked or Chelsea, United, Citeh, Liverpool and Arsenal surrendering their powers and allowing repeat of the Leicester City abnormality in seasons’ dominance.
Luckily that can’t take place in such jurisdictions where power and manipulation of the system is a language spoken and understood by the masses of the fraternity dominating the sport.
Per the very fabric and design of football’s culture, power and it’s manipulation is one of the key elements in sustaining excitement, true fan spirit and most importantly modern commerce and monetization of the sport.
It can only take Real Madrid, Barcelona, the EPL’s supremos in United, Liverpool, Citeh, Chelsea and Arsenal, the giants from the Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and their coequals in Portugal, Holland, Scotland to draw the deepest of corporate budget in sponsorship and maintain global cosmopolitan following.
But the two Ghanaian giants have had generational problems which has gradually evaporated their powers and are at a loss on how to distil and condense their way back to power locally.
Eighteen years ago, Hearts of Oak, a club based in Accra – Ghana’s capital, was the strongest club in Africa after winning the CAF Champions League beating clubs from the rich North Africa in Tunisia and Egypt.
The Phobians, as they are popularly known in Ghana, chartered their own supremacy by dominating Africa five years later, winning the CAF Confederation Cup.
An expression of the powers wielded by the two clubs was seen in the Confederation Cup final 13 years ago when the pair drew international attention to the Accra Sports Stadium and the Baba Yara Sports Stadium playing in the final.
Asante Kotoko, Ghana’s most celebrated club, have won the country’s top-flight football league title a record 24 times while their archrivals Hearts of Oak are just four titles shy of Kotoko’s.
The two powerhouses have produced some of the greatest footballers and coaches on the continent.
Players like Ibrahim Sunday, Adolf Armah and Abdul Karim Razak, who were drawn from these two clubs, were some of the early footballers who defined and shaped the CAF Player of the Year Awards.
In the scheme of things the two clubs command the greatest numbers among Ghana’s football population and somehow even transcend the borders of the country.
But the last ten years have spelt out the beginning of the end of the supremacy of the two clubs following their blatant breach and transgression of the laws of power that moulded their very own command over the game.
Below are the four laws transgressed by Kotoko and Hearts which technically define the end of their supremacy.
L1. Get Other Clubs To Do The Work For You, But Always Take The Credit
This law requires the powerful to use the wisdom, patience, perspicacity, knowledge and legwork of other clubs to further your own cause.
Observance of the Law
During the 80s, 90s and early 2000s Hearts and Kotoko converted other clubs in the top flight to feeder grounds and regularly scouted their ranks for their finest of talents. Various Hearts and Kotoko administration sent great men and renowned talent hunters to go round identifying players with the Hearts and Kotoko pedigree to bring them to Accra and Kumasi respectively. Emmanuel Osei Kuffuor, Charles Taylor, Nana Arhinduah, Michael Osei Ember Power, Bernard Don Bortey and many other great players who graced the local game. The two occasionally even got involved in transfer tag of war of their own.
Key To Power
What Hearts and Kotoko were able to do during those times cut the powers of those clubs as they continuously eliminated and sometimes wasted every single player born in the camp of a ‘smaller’ club who had the power to lead a revolt. In the early 2000s Elvis Opoku had become a force at Okwahu United and was tormenting Hearts and Kotoko on their visit to the Brighton Park. Kotoko arranged to purchase him and let him rot on the bench. Hearts also employed the same tactics, signing the best players of smaller clubs, retained them on purpose before farming them out on loan to clubs of their wish.
Transgression of the Law
In 2007 Aduana Stars felt proud selling their best players to Hearts and Kotoko. Two years later the Ogya Boys tasted the powers of winning and gradually began to resist Hearts and Kotoko. While Aduana were doing this Hearts and Kotoko looked unconcerned and other clubs happily joined the frey. Medeama, WAFA, AshantiGold, Berekum Chelsea, Liberty Professionals and Inter Allies seek outside market for their talents purely because Hearts and Kotoko are not that powerful anymore. The trend has led to even spread of talent among clubs limiting the powers of Hearts and Kotoko.
L2. Play The Perfect Courtier
The perfect courtier (club) thrieves in a world where everything revolves around their power and political dexterity
Hearts and Kotoko used to command the bigwigs and deep pockets in Ghana football.
Transgression of the laws
AshantiGold, Medeama, Dreams FC, Amidaus Professionals, New Edubiase United, Aduana Stars and Bechem United are with managed or owned by administrators who came from these two Titians. The break aways came about as a result of unresolved infighting and friction. They are the wrong people Hearts of Oak offended.
L3. Plan All The Way To The End
Transgression of the Law
Hearts and Kotoko failed to ahead with regards to many aspects of their game and the good old saying goes failing to plan is planning to fail. After winning the CAF Champions League 18 years ago and appearing in the world top 10 clubs ranking by CNN Hearts failed to plan towards the future. This is one key attribute of all successful football clubs in the world. Setting short and long term plans define the vision and mission of most modern clubs and give them a sense of direction. Kotoko likewise have no such plans and structures and sack coaches and players season after seasons. Management has passed through over 10 different hands over the last two decades and this has weakened the foundation and stability of the club.
Observance of the Law
Hearts used over four years of consistency to build the team that won the CAF Champions League and Super Cup. The leaders of the team were a band of ambitious folks who understood and appreciated the dividends of patience, perspicacity and consistency. Part of their reward was the domestic success they achieved winning the Premier League on a record six times on a string.
L4. So Much Depends On Reputation: Defend It With Your Life
Reputation is the cornerstone of power.
Transgression of the Law
Hearts and Kotoko have lost so much of their reputation and credibility over the years after losing numerous games against ‘smaller’ clubs. Hearts were even humiliated by WAFA and consistently suffer defeats on their visits to the Red Bull Arena. Their reputation is even further dented this season as they have become prey to the smaller clubs. Both have lost the knack of striking fear into their opposition and this has affected their reputation on the local front. Their next generation of followers are almost lost as they are failing to attract any new fans through their performances on the pitch and this has led to massive disaffection for the league.
By El Akyereko