Former Hearts of Oak midfielder Eric Nyarko has revealed, in his opinion, what has hindered the Phobians from winning competitive trophies for the past ten years, and the fans of the club have featured significantly in the reasons stated by Nyarko.
Accra Hearts of Oak has not won the domestic league since 2008/2009 season, and have as well failed to lift any competitive trophy except for ceremonial ones, and former midfield dynamo Eric Nyarko has attributed the situation to lack of “experienced players in the team” as a major cause. In his definition, experienced players refer to players who have featured for the club for several seasons, as well as those who have stayed in the game for years, some who are usually described now as being “too old” to play.
Nyarko compared the Hearts of Oak squad presently to the squad of his time, and he believes the team was much more balanced with with both new and old players and that aided the success of the club, which includes the famous victory over local rivals Kumasi Asante Kotoko in the 2005 CAF Confederation Cup final in Kumasi.
“There are two things I have observed and I’m not afraid to say it”, Nyarko started, speaking exclusively to ghanasportspage.com. “The first thing is the lack of experienced players in the team. There have a very good side but in every successful team like TP Mezembe and Al Ahly SC you see them having senior players playing then they add the young ones to form a mixture of the two, but I don’t see that in the Hearts of Oak team”, he said.
Eric Nyarko played a crucial role in Hearts of Oak’s memorable victory in the 2005 Confederations Cup and Nyarko has claimed that the Hearts of Oak team then was more balanced than the recent squads they assemble and this is a major cause of their trophy drought.
“If you look at our time we had somebody like [Lawrence] Adja-Tetteh, [Emmanuel] Osei Kuffour, Amankwaa Mireku who were older than us or they we having the experience, then we the young ones like Louis Agyemang, Prince Tagoe were blended with them so it made the team solid”, he compared.
Nyarko further bemoaned that such a blend of old and young players is no longer existing in Ghana football because the experience players are tagged as being too old to play.
“But now in Ghana football that thing (blending the old with the young) is no longer in existence because if you play Hearts and Kotoko for long or the premier league for couple of seasons then you are touted as a veteran, too old and that’s part of why I see things to have gone down at Hearts now”, he said.
Stretching beyond lack of balance in the team, Eric Nyarko also accused Hearts of Oak fans of relaxing during football matches. In his view, unlike before, the current fans of of Hearts of Oak fail cheer the playing body as loud as before and this does not ginger the players to do more especially when they are down by a goal or more.
“Secondly, I see it that during our time, what the used to do for us I don’t see it now. Why am I saying that? If we are playing and even things are not going well, the supporters got up to cheer the song arose, arose….if they start singing the song it brought some rapid strength in us on the field and we are able to win or even if we are down we equalise and go on to score a winner, but now if I go to the stadium I don’t see that love the fans used to have for the players. How they used to sing to ginger the players I don’t see that thing in the Hearts team for now”, Nyarko alleged.