Former Hearts of Oak midfielder Kofi Abanga has urged both Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko to archive their past success in continental competitions and focus on how to return to their former selves in continental competitions.
Despite tasting success in both the CAF Champions League and the Confederation Cup competitions during the 20th and the early stages of the 21st centuries, both Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko have nothing to show for in terms of trophies from any of the two elite competitions on the continent for the past 15 years.
Both Accra Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko did creditably well in the maiden edition of the CAF Confederation Cup in the year 2004, when the two clubs beat off competition from all opponents the met on the way to set up all Ghanaian clubs final. Hearts of Oak emerged champions after beating Kotoko on penalties during the final second leg match played in Kumasi, but but clubs have since failed to make it to the semi final of the competition. Meanwhile, both clubs continue to pride themselves in the success they chocked in the past – Asante Kotoko, two times champions of the Champions League (1970, 1983), and Accra Hearts of Oak (2000).
Speaking to ghanasportspage.com on a wide range of issues concerning Ghana football and the growth of the two greatest football clubs in Ghana, former Hearts of Oak midfielder Kofi Abanga has urged both Kotoko and Hearts of Oak to put behind them their past glories and seek to develop the clubs to the meet the modern standards and demands of the game if they want to start winning again in Africa. He added that the game of football itself has changed, now with lots of modernized way of doing things and Kotoko and Hearts of Oak need to abreast themselves with the modern trend.
“Football in particular has changed, there’s been a lot of additions (modernization), so those things like we’ve won a cup eleven years ago, ten years ago, it’s time these two teams put that behind”, advised. “We have to assumed we’ve not won any cup (in continental competition), so if we continue to pride ourselves in those assertions that we’ve won the cup eleven years ago, we won the cup ten years ago I think it will go against the clubs. So it’s time the two teams sit and reflect on how they can move the clubs forward to win new trophies and stop those archaic things, excuse my word, because a lot of things have changed in the football now so we have to put those things behind and focus on how the team can win a cup, that’s the most important thing”, he stressed.
Asked to suggest things the club should do to improve, the 32-year old midfielder suggested the hiring of some former players of the clubs who are into football scouting, administration and others to take over most positions of the clubs. This according to Abanga, will help Hearts and Kotoko to rediscover their fearsome identities and cruise back to winning ways.
“If you look at a player like Samuel Affum, he was promoted from Hearts of Oak’s youth team (Auroras) to the senior team and he was super. It’s about time the two clubs pay attention to their youth side and also hire some of their old players who have the knowledge in the game to help them with scouting and to occupy some coaching positions in the club. This can help them build a winsome side and to maintain the club’s identity”, he suggested.