As they say, “it is more difficult to stay on the top than to get there” – such is the story of the oldest club in Ghana at the moment. Hearts of Oak, a club built on the foundations of success seems to have forgotten how to be one in recent years – with the evidence of just one major trophy won in a decade backing the claim.
One can only imagine what the feeling is like for the club’s supporters at the mere sight of the ‘success’ of their bitter rivals Asante Kotoko in the last decade – and who currently are the only light on a hill in Africa for Ghana football in the darkest time of the country’s domestic football.
I bet it feels like being stabbed at the back with a hot knife – but who is to blame for the cause of this sleeping giant?
Absolutely no one to point fingers at, because they all hide behind the words ‘the manager is not good enough, disrespectful’ and eventually sack him.
One could argue about the performances and results in past years not befitting of a giant club like Hearts of Oak – but it is what it is; you reap what you sow. Hiring and sacking of managers only stagnate the progress of a club and it literally became the second nature of the top management at the club as it’s the only huge rock to hide their incompetence behind.
The only ship in a storm is leadership and it was clear that this club lacked one with it leaders behaving like a ship docked in harbor. Something had to be given to wake this sleeping giant from its hypnosis to conciliate its puzzled supporters.
And something, the club gave by appointing Mark Noonan as new Chief Executive Officer: a former Global Chief Commercial Officer for the World Surf League and also one imbedded with vast knowledge in the sport and its management.
With the American now in charge of steering the ship to safety in the storm, he is slowly and quietly going about his business. An abrupt end to domestic football albeit an Anas exposé presented an opportunity to him to set his plans in motion to reinvent and reinstate the club as a force to be reckon with once again not just in Ghana but Africa as well.
The appointment of Kim Grant – a former Ghanaian international as the club’s new head coach and director of football was seen as a step in the right direction to bring back the glorious days of the club. The 46-year-old, who previously had stints with Elmina Sharks and Sea Lions, holds a Uefa A Pro coaching license.
A lucrative sponsorship shirt deal with Umbro was secured for the upcoming Ghana Premier League as well as securing the signatures of some of the best talents in the country.
In the absence of competitive games in the country for the time been, the club has taken the necessary measures to ensure that their players are kept fit and sharp with a series of friendlies. Both performances and results in these friendlies have been quiet positive and supporters of the Phobians have been carried away by the success of the club.
With the club’s motto being, “Never say die until the bones are rotten” – one can only agree that the Phoenix is on the rise from its ashes more beautiful than before.