8 interesting facts you need to know about Hearts of Oak [ARTICLE]


The Accra giant is the oldest existing club in the annals of Ghanaian football.

The club has chalked plenty of successes within their 109 years of existing. They have won the Ghanaian topflight league 20 times, the FA Cup 10 times, one CAF Champions League, One CAF Confederation Cup and one CAF Super Cup.

Here are the nine interesting facts about the club:

Longest existing club in Ghana

Excelsior was the first Ghanaian club to be formed in 1903. Other clubs too were formed before the formation of the Accra giants in 1911.

However, they failed to stand the test of time and before the start of Ghana’s first league in 1956, they had all been dissolved.

Hearts of Oak have existed since 1956, making them the longest existing Ghanaian club.

Only Ghanaian club to have appeared on CNN/World Soccer weekly chart

Hearts of Oak was rated the 8th best team after beating Zamalek to win the CAF Super Cup in 2001, following the CAF Champions League triumph in December

On 12th February 2001, Ghanaian giants Hearts of Oak were named 8th best club in the World in the CNN/World Soccer weekly chart

This happened a day after the club had beaten Zamalek of Egypt by 2-0 to win the only Super Cup by a Ghanaian side at the Kumasi Sports Stadium.

Below is a list of the top 10 clubs announced by CNN/World Soccer

Rank Team Country Points

(1 As Roma Italy 90pts

(2) Boca Juniors Argentina 89 pts

(3) Real Madrid Spain 83 pts

(4) Manchester Utd England 81pts

(5) Bayern Munich Germany 60 pts

(6) Deportivo La Coruna Spain 3 pts

(7) Vasco da Gama Brazil 48 pts

(8) Hearts of Oak Ghana 26 pts

(9) Arsenal England 25 pts

(10) Lazio Italy 22 pts

The Accra powerhouse won the first-ever league in Ghana:

Accra Hearts a proud of winning the maiden Ghanaian topflight league staged in 1956.

The Phobians finished top of the league log and were crowned champions after a coronation match against Eleven Wise.

The only Ghanaian club to win three different continental titles

Hearts of Oak won the CAF Champions League in 2000 and in 2001 won the CAF Super Cup.

Again in 2005, the Phobians defeated their archrivals Asante Kotoko to clinch the 2004 CAF Confederation.

The road to this unprecedented feat by a Ghanaian club

The first major continental achievement was attained in December 2000 when they beat Tunisian giants Esperance. Hearts of Oak had failed to win the title despite reaching the final in 1977 and 1979, but under the technical direction of Cecil Jones Attoquayefio they chalked the enviable feat.

The journey to this great feat began in March when Hearts of Oak knocked out Horoya AC of Guinea 4-3 on aggregate, before piping DC Motema Pembe of DR Congo 4-3 on aggregate in the second round to reach the CAF Champions’ League group stage/money zone.

They were drawn in Group ‘B’ with the likes of Lobi Stars, El Ahly, Jeanne d’Arc.

The Continental Club Masters scored a late minute goal through Emmanuel Donkor in their maiden champions’ league group game against El Ahly in Accra. The North African giant took the lead before Hearts of Oak fought from behind to win the game by 2-1.

They matched on with two successive away victories against Jeanne d’Arc in Senegal. A game Ishmael Addo scored a hat-trick, the first away hat-trick in the competition’s history, before dismissing Lobi Stars 2-0 in Nigeria, to complete the first round of the group games.

They started the second half of the group stage by beating Lobi Stars 2-0 in the return fixture, before settling for a one all in Egypt against Ahly and finished off at home with a one all against Jeanne d’Arc.

The competition at that time had no room for semi finals, so the winner of group ‘A’ Esperance booked a date with Hearts of Oak the winner of group ‘B’.

The Ghanaian side went unbeaten in the group stage, which was the first time a club, did so.

Hearts were the first club to win the maiden edition of the CAF Confederation

Hearts and Kotoko made history by becoming the first sides from the same country to face each other in the final of any African inter club competitions.

Asante Kotoko were at the time favourites in terms of the quality of players and team organization. But the Accra giants dug deep to shock their opponents.

Exactly 15 years today, Accra Hearts of Oak defeated their archrivals Asante Kotoko 8-9 after a marathon penalty shootout to win the 2004 CAF Confederation Cup final on Sunday 9th January, 2005 at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kumasi.

The final was supposed to be played in December, 2004 but it was rescheduled to January 2005 due to the 2004 general elections in Ghana

Both leagues ended in a one all and in both situations Hearts of Oak came from behind to draw level.

Charles Taylor scored Kotoko’s goal in the 51st minute, incidentally his first goal against his former club, Hearts of Oak since joining Kotoko, while Hearts equalised in the 80th minute through Adjah Tetteh.

Dan Quaye, Emmanuel Osei Kuffuor, Francis Bossman, Acquah Harrison, Lawrence Adjei, Ablade Morgan, Adjah Tetteh and Michael Donkor scored for Hearts while skipper Amankwah Mireku missed his kick. For Kotoko, Issah Ahmed, Frank Osei, Yusif Chibsah, Michael Asante, Godfred Yeboah, Dan Yeboah and Michael Ofosu-Appiah scored from their kicks while Edmund Owusu-Ansah and skipper Joseph Hendricks missed their kicks.

Hearts won the first ever league in Ghana: The first ever league was played in 1956 and Accra Hearts of Oak were the first side to lay their hands on the trophy.

Hearts line-up: Sannie Mohammed, Dan Quaye, Amankwah Mireku, Acquah Harrison, Michael Donkor, Francis Bossman, Adjah Tetteh, Lawrence Adjei, Louis Agyemang, Prince Tagoe, Dong Bortey/Ablade Morgan.

Coach: Cecil Jones Attuquayefio

Kotoko line-up: George Owu, Michael Ofuso Amoah, Godfred Yeboah, Joe Hendricks, Issa Ahmed, Stephen Oduro, Yusif Chibsah, Michael Asante, Michael Osei, Nana Arhin Duah/Frank Osei, Charles Taylor (Edmund Owusu Ansah).

Coach: Hans Dieter-Schmidt

READ MORE:Hearts @ 109: All-time XI

Hearts of Oak inspired the formation of Kumasi Asante Kotoko:

History has it that, early in 1924, a young driver for one of the colonial dignitaries (Col. Ross), accompanied him to a football match. Coincidentally, the match involved Accra Hearts of Oak and Accra Standfast. The driver, Kwasi Kuma, who was thrilled with what he had witnessed returned to Kumasi and with the help of his electrician friend, Lawrence Yaw Asamoah formed his football club called Kumasi Rainbow; taking inspiration from how the team in rainbow colours had played so well that day (Hearts won 2-1).

Two years later, the name of the team was changed to Ashanti United after the leaders managed to lure students from schools within the town to join the team. In 1931, there was another change in name when they christened the club Titanics, given how gargantuan they had become in the region, but that did not bring them enough luck and was the name was changed again to a more powerful one: Mighty Atoms in 1934. Mighty Atoms was not particularly different from Titanics as both names brought little to no success.

In 1935, James Frimpong (aka Teacher Frimpong) who was a teacher at the Kumasi Government School and also involved in running the club sought permission and blessings from the traditional ruler of the land, Asantehene Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II, to name the team after what is considered a symbol of the strong defense mechanisms and prowess of the Ashantis during wars – Kotoko (The Porcupine). A great gathering of chiefs was convened on 31st August 1935 to rename the club and for it to be adopted a royal motif for the biggest kingdom in Gold Coast. His royal highness, the Asantene and Atipinhene (Nana Boakye Yamoa) were elected the first patrons of the clubs.

Hearts of Oak have other interesting infamous records which is a blot on their reputation:

Hearts became first African club to finish CAF Champions’ League group stage without

On Saturday 16th September 2006 at the Obuasi Len Clay Sports Stadium Hearts of Oak set an infamous record by becoming the first African club to participate in the CAF Champions League without scoring a goal.

It was confirmed after they drew goalless against ASEC Mimosas in Obuasi.

They had lost 2-0 and 0-1 against Enyimba and lost 3-0 and goalless in their two fixtures against ASEC. Whereas they held Orlando Pirates to a goalless draw in South Africa, but lost 0-1 at home to them, hence conceding a total of 7 goals without finding the back of the net.

Since the inception of the CAF Champions League proper in 1997, Hearts are the only team to finish the group stage without scoring.

ASEC Abidjan drew 0-0 with Ghana’s Hearts of Oak to move into the semi-finals of the African Champions League

Their goalless draw meant that Hearts of Oak finished bottom of the standings without scoring a single goal

In the other group B game, Nigerian import Onyekachi Okonkwo steered his South African club Orlando Pirates into the semi-finals at the expense of his former team.

Enyimba arrived in South Africa less than 24 hours before the kick-off and played as though they were in need of a good night’s sleep.

A curling shot from the midfielder in the 30th minute gave Pirates a 1-0 win over Enyimba of Nigeria in the last of the Group B matches.

Pirates finished second in the group behind ASEC.

Enyimba had just needed a draw in the match in Johannesburg to progress to the semi-finals and had several chances in the game to score but were let down by poor finishing.

Apart from Okonkwo’s pin-point shot, Pirates were also poor in front of goal. Congolese international Blaise Mbele missed a chance to extend the lead at the end of the game when he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper but he hit his effort wide.

Hearts are the only team to have gone unbeaten yet failed to win the league:

The Phobians are the only club in the Ghanaian football history to have gone unbeaten in a whole srason, but failed to clinch the league.

Hearts of Oak had won the league six consecutive times under E.K Afranie, Jones Attoquayefio who won four and Herbert Addo who clinched the last of the six titles in a row.

Addo after defending the league in 2002, threw it away despite preventing all other 15 clubs from earning a win in 30 games.

Asante Kotoko who had gone 10 years without a league title and they proved how thirstier they were by dethroning the Accra giants.


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