OPINION: Hearts Of Oak's best XI in the last two decades - Footy Dreams

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OPINION: Hearts Of Oak’s best XI in the last two decades

5 min read

Image via HeartsOfOakGH

Football may not be the most important thing in these turbulent times, but the suspension of and cancellation of some major competitions has undoubtedly left a void in the lives of fans across the globe.  

 With a few other sporting events taking place, football fans need something to keep them going. Music; reading a book that you never got round to and playing video games scratches a hitch but it doesn’t fill the void. 

And while TV channels and club’s social media accounts are whiling away the hours by re-showing classic matches, why not go one further by rewinding the clock to a time when certain players hogged the headlines with talents and lit up stadiums? 

Since the turn of the millennium, Accra Hearts of Oak have experienced two decades of relatively contrasting fortunes.  The first decade brought to bear the club’s most successful period. The club within the said period won 6x league titles; a CAF Champions League crown; CAF Confederation Cup title and 1x CAF Super Cup and a 1x FA Cup. 

However, the club has had a tortured existence in the last decade. They’ve occasionally had the tools to go far in major competitions but often fall at the penultimate or final hurdle. Or sometimes they struggle really, really badly. That’s not to say they haven’t had some phenomenal players within the stated period, and trying to narrow down the avalanche of talent that has donned the famous rainbow colours to just 11 players is exceptionally difficult. 

Let’s take a look at Hearts’ best XI in the last two decades. 

GK– Sammy Adjei Famed for his consistent swashbuckling performances for the club, Adjei was one hell of a servant of Accra Hearts of Oak. He was an integral member of the Hearts team that won the CAF Champions League and Super Cup and won successive Premier League titles with the Accra club.

 RB– Amankwah Mireku I had a choice here between Amankwah Mireku and Hassan Mohammed and I settled on the former. The soft-spoken Mireku lifted the CAF Champions League, Super Cup and added some domestic titles to his list of silverware during his stay with the Phobians. A true leader at the back, Mireku established himself as one of the best right-backs in the league for the number of years he played for Hearts and is revered as a Hearts legend. 

CBDan Quaye He was scarily good at the back. Kofi Wayo as he was affectionately known among the Hearts fans could play as a right-back, left-back, at the heart of the defence and even as a defensive midfielder. He was a real powerhouse regardless of roles assigned him on the pitch. Quick, positionally aware and a proper ball-playing defender, Quaye could do it all.

 CB– Stephen Tetteh He established himself as one of the best in his position during the early millennium. His defensive awareness was fantastic and gave the Hearts side the confidence to throw everyone forward in attack.  His languid style helped endear him to the Hearts faithful. He was quick and strong in the tackle, and at his best was the player the Hearts team was built around.  

LB– Jacob Nettey  Nettey was the skipper of the Hearts side that conquered Africa in the year 2000 and won five Ghanaian premier league titles with two FA cup too. A predominantly right-footed player, Nettey effortlessly played as a left-back with ease and defined the role with his forward raids and astute awareness on the pitch. His combative style, as well as his leadership, has still never been replaced at Hearts since his departure. He was capped over 47 times by the Black Stars. 

DM– Joe Ansah Lawrence Adjah Tetteh and Edmund Copson’s achievements with the Phobians could earn them spots in most combined XIs, but Ansah edges it here. His discipline and defensive prowess enabled Hearts creative forces Emmanuel Osei Kuffour, Emmanuel Adjogu, Kenneth Sarpong and Charles Taylor flourish. He was fantastic in his role as a midfield anchor. He made himself indispensable in Hearts’ engine room till his departure. He was simply the general factotum at the club.

 AM– Emmanuel Osei Kuffour The General was known for his versatility and once kept the post for the Black Stars during a game with the Super Eagles of Nigeria. He was noted for his intelligent goals and assists and is dearly loved by fans of both clubs. He epitomised everything great about Hearts’ 2000 side with his flair and creativity. Kuffour scored ten goals as the Phobians conquered Africa to win the CAF Champions League trophy.

 RW– Bernard Dong Bortey Do I even need to explain why Bortey gets in here? He was really, really good at football, and you only have to look at his goals, assists, work rate, personal and collective accolades to know that he meant business. He was a maverick who got burnt in an inglorious blaze but still one of the best the Ghanaian game has ever seen. 

LW– Charles Taylor Taylor was a beast during his playing days. He could beat players at will with his pace and dribbling and had a keen eye for goal as well and he was always willing to try and make something happen for the Hearts side. He was a delight to watch at full flight. Whether he was cutting inside from the left to curl shots deliciously into the top corner or theatrically winning his side penalties, the tricky winger was absolute box office.

 ST– Mahatma Otoo I mean, who else would it be? If he hadn’t made it, let’s be honest, it would have been a disgrace. He scored 56 goals in 117 appearances for the club and was the top scorer of the Ghanaian league in 2013 and was once named the League’s Best player of the season. However, there was a time in blue when the striker wasn’t so deified. Indeed, you could say he was vilified for much of his first season in Hearts. But he didn’t let it get to him, bouncing back to score goals for the club. He never looked back. Naturally, he never looked back.

 ST– Ishmael Addo He won three consecutive top scorer awards in the league (2000-2002), won the golden boot in the FIFA U-17 Championship in 1999 and really loved playing against Asante Kotoko. He won the league on five occasions in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and his return in 2009. He had the quality to terrorise defences, the ‘enfant terrible’ waltzes into the team with ease.  I can just see it on. You’re behind your computer, shaking your head vigorously, possibly whispering expletives about how we settled on this team …feel free to tell us we are wrong!

By Godfred Budu Yeboah

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