Hearts Failure in Africa : Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak are the newest Ghanaian clubs to fail in Africa following their elimination from the CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederation Cup by RC Kadiogo of Burkina Faso and AS Real Bamako of Mali respectively.
The Porcupine Warriors were eliminated by the Burkina Faso champions in the first preliminary round of the Champions League whilst Hearts of Oak failed in the Second Round of the Confederation Cup after getting a bye in the First Round.
Needing to avoid a defeat at home in order to make it into the next round of the CAF Champions League , Kotoko were toppled by Rail Club de Kadiogo of Burkina Faso.
In fact , both Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko haven’t reached the Champions League group stages since 2006 ; that is 16 years ago and in the Confederation Cup , Kotoko is the sole Ghanaian side to have played the Money Zone in the last five seasons.
The wretched away performance of Hearts of Oak in their African campaign of last season – losing by 6 goals to 1 at WAC and by 4 goals to nothing at JS Saoura – meant very few people pinned their hopes on the Phobians to do better this year. The disappointment was repeated , anyway.
Samuel Boadu , who was clearly losing his mojo on the Hearts of Oak team was fired just a week away from the AS Real Bamako first leg match. Regardless of how justified Boadu’s sacking was, the Phobians failed to get a substantive manager in place and therefore relied on the inexperience of assistant coach David Ocloo. The outcome was a humbling 3-1 aggregate defeat against AS Real.
Advantages were there but Kotoko still failed. First , an away win at Cotonou put the team of Seydou Zerbo in charge of the tie and in the return leg in Kumasi , Steven Mukwala was presented with the biggest chance of the encounter but he failed to make it count.
During the penalty shoot-out just look at how Osei Bonsu , Sarfo Taylor and Enock Morison took their shots. Miserable.
If you carefully watched the Kadiogo players , they were tougher mentally and their determination to go through was not only demonstrated in their media interviews , they went on to prove it on the pitch.A
As for Hearts of Oak , their realistic chances of qualifying diminished immediately after losing 3-0 away in Bamako as the Malians did the most important job on home soil. Did anyone really believe in a comeback at the Accra sports stadium? That was farcical.
Lack of consistency
Razak Abalora , Samuel Frimong, Ismail Ganiyu, Wahab Adams, Imoro Ibrahim, Emmanuel Gyamfi, Adom Frimpong and Latif Anabila, Godfred Asiamah , Kwame Poku and Opoku Mensah. This was the Kotoko starting line – up in their last CAF Champions League match played on 23rd December 2020 – a one nil defeat against Al Hilal at the Accra sports stadium.
It is worrying to see that none of the above players played a part in this year’s games against RC Kadiogo.
Etouga Mbella who scored 21 goals in his debut league season for the Porcupine Warriors left for Egypt just around the same time the team contested the second leg against RC Kadiogo.
For Hearts of Oak , head coach Samuel Boadu and the likes of Salim Adams , Kofi Kordzi , Emmanuel Nettey , Frederick Ansah Botchway and co who were all part of the 2021/22 Africa campaign were not part this season.
Without consistency , our best clubs are surely always going to be doomed in Africa.
The stats are indeed horrible ; No Ghanaian side has reached the CAF Champions League group stages since Berekum Chelsea did so in 2012.
For Hearts of Oak and Kotoko , you have to trace back to 2006 when they last competed at the best stages of the biggest African club competition.
If giants Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko have failed to be our leading lights in Africa , where do we get is our new source of hope now ? Apparently , we have no other better source at the moment.
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