Exactly 108 years ago in Accra, the seed for one of Ghana’s most glorious clubs was planted. Accra Hearts of Oak was formed.
Unprecedented success in the late 90s and early 2000s shot the club into global status with a CNN weekly ranking of 8th becoming a point of reference for the greatness of the Oak Tree.
However, Hearts’ fortunes have plummeted in the last decade under the leadership of Togbe Afede who took over reigns of the club after coming up tops in a share-flotation exercise.
On the occasion of their 108th anniversary, Ghanaweb takes a look at eleven remarkable feats chalked by the Rainbow team.
Hearts was formed on 11/11/1911
The club was formed in Accra on 11th November 1911 by a group of young men led by Christopher Brandford Nettey (later Asafoatse Nettey), a war leader of the Ga State in the colonial times and his other colleagues, Sinon-Okraku brothers (Adolf, Alfred and Wilhelm), J.T .O Ankrah, J.A Aryee, Dodoo Annang, Darku Abbey, Mark Nettey, the Solomon duo (Amponsah and Kwashie), the Bruce-Tagoe brothers (W.W and T.F), Willie Ocran, TF Wilson, JDK Botwe, FD Amoo, Peter Malm and Quarshie Coker, Akom Duncan, all players of the team.
Hearts is officially the oldest club in Ghana football.
First win in a major tournament in 1922
Despite being formed in 1911, Hearts had to wait for more than a decade to record their first win in 1922. This could be attributed to the absence of sanctioned football matches in the then British colony.
First league trophy in 1956
Their first season in the maiden Ghana Premier League, Hearts were champions.
The title in 1956 was the first of 20 league titles the Phobians have won in their 108 history. It is second highest to Kumasi Asante Kotoko who have amassed 24 titles.
In the FA Cup, Hearts are joint top winners with 10 trophies. They have two Super Cups.
Hearts have a trophy each in the CAF Confederation Cup and CAF Champions League in 2004 and 2000 respectively.
Hearts were the winners of the maiden edition of the CAF Confed Cup. The ‘virgin cup’ they called it. They also won the 2001 CAF Super Cup.
Hearts is also listed as one of CAF’s club of the 20th century.
Six consecutive Premier League Champions
How about that for a record. Six seasons, six league titles from 1996 to 2002, the Phobians dominated football in the country. The won the CAF Champions League in that period and won the Confed Cup four years later.
Hearts ranked 8th by CNN
On February 12, 2001 Hearts of Oak recorded another milestone, when CNN/World Soccer rated them the 8th best club in its weekly chart, rubbing shoulders with giants such as Real Madrid.
They remain the only team in Ghana with that enviable record.
Under a defensively shrewd manager, Hearts went through an entire league campaign without losing a game.
Herbert Addo’s Hearts of Oak tasted no defeat in the 2002/2003 season but could not win the league. They were second.
Best squad in Ghana league history?
Ever heard of the all-conquering 64 Battalions squad? Yeah that team that was assembled by the legendary coach Attuquayefio.
Sammy Adjei, Eben Dida Armah, Jacob Nettey, Amankwah Mireku, Ishmael Addo, Charles Allotey, Dan Quaye were all part of the great team that played scintillating football and won laurels.
Flotation of shares
In 2009, the Hearts finally decided to swap their traditional status for a corporate one. Togbe Afede bought the highest number of shares thus became the club’s de facto owner.
No major trophy since 2009
The flotation of shares was meant to herald the Hearts into a dawn of unprecedented success domestically and on the continental stage.
However, a decade after the move, Hearts are yet to lay their hands on either the Ghana league or FA Cup. Fans have occasionally agitated and protested the running of the club by Togbe Afede and his cohorts.
The last three years have however been different with long-term plans being put in place to return Hearts to its status.
Part of the activities for today is a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of an ultra-modern facility that includes training centres, gyms, hostels, among others.