Just one win in their first five games resulted in only five points out of a possible 15. At this point, it was déjà vu for most connected to the club. Hearts were desperate. But in came Samuel Boadu. He was a shrewd investment by the management of the club and now they are tussling with Asante Kotoko at the top of the GPL standings.
Just days after Samuel Boadu was announced as head coach for Hearts of Oak, the Phobians racked up a massive result against WAFA. WAFA had not been the kindest opponents for Hearts in times past. Results like the 3-0 win in 2016 and 5-0 win in 2017 had haunted the Phobians for quite some time. They needed big wins to assert themselves in these fixtures for years to come and more importantly, to better their chances of challenging for the title of this campaign.
Not many fans expected this narrative. The Rainbow club has been underwhelming this season. Hearts started the season quite poorly. Just one win in their first five games resulted in only five points out of a possible 15. Hearts were desperate. They needed the wins. The objective has to be winning the league title since their last triumph in 2009. 12 years and one of the most decorated clubs in Ghana have not celebrated winning a major trophy. Their former head coach Kosta Papic walked out on the club almost midway through the season. It all looked gloomy. The players appeared morose; the fans were incensed.
At this point, it was déjà vu for most connected to the club. A repeat of the previous endings in the last decade was expected. Either go close enough to the title and be left downcast after bottling it in the end or be regular in mid-table. But in came Samuel Boadu. He was a shrewd investment by the management of the club. They stepped in to find a manager and went obstinate this time. Not a foreigner. Not an upcoming, untested coach, but this time Hearts signed up one of the most intriguing managers in the local game. Having been impressive in Medeama Sporting Club, Boadu has the respect of most people in the Ghana Premier League. But even he was expected to find life difficult in Accra.
It’s a demanding job. It is not just because of the size of the club and its rich history pounding pressure on you as a coach, but also because Hearts are struggling at the moment. The club’s finances have not been great. Their better players go off after one season, and the tactical edge they enjoyed so much in decades past seems a thing of the past. But Boadu has found a way out of the mess. He found a formula that will consistently draw fans to the stadium and have something to shout about in the end.
Hearts are now league leaders. Tussling with Asante Kotoko at the top of the GPL standings, Hearts are currently enjoying their matches in the top flight. It did not come easy. They have won nine games under Boadu and recorded only two draws and two losses. Astonishing if one knows the recent backstory of this club. With the fans pushing for nothing but success on the pitch and calling for the heads of those in management every year, the pressure to deliver the title is one that never goes away. The structure of the club has been questioned, including others who simply say the Phobians will never reclaim its old glory.
Boadu had a different script in hand. He has guided Hearts back to the pinnacle of the Premier League and suddenly the fans can smile again. The fans can hope again. Hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel this time. That the years the locust ate, will be restored. Boadu seems the person to take them to their promised land, but caution must be thrown to the wind. It is early days, especially when Kotoko is also still in the bracket of title hopefuls. Hold on with the celebrations but it is certainly time to keep the optimism levels up.
Written by Thierry Nyann