Coach Samuel Boadu became an instant hero three seasons ago when he famously guided Glorious Accra Hearts of Oak to break the over a decade old jinx of Ghana Premier League (GPL) trophy drought.
What made the winning of the trophy more interesting and sweeter was the fact that Hearts competed fiercely against their arch rivals Asante Kotoko on equal strength and aggression. The Porcupine Warriors gave the Phobians a good run for their money, with the league title going down to the wire.
At a point, the title chase was reduced to a two horse race between Hearts and Kotoko, as both sides accrued almost the same points and kept pushing each other at the summit.
Kotoko’s morale and zeal for the title eventually diminished when a fine strike by charismatic Daniel Afriyie Bannie consigned them to a 1-0 defeat in Accra on match day 31.
It is important to note that Hearts’ campaign that season was not started by coach Samuel Boadu, but he was brought to join the team, following a not too good performance after match day 16.
The former Medeama gaffer succeeded in turning the fortunes of the capital based club around, winning the treble of League, FA Cup and Super Cup. This great achievement qualified Hearts to participate in the CAF Champions League after many years of absence, following their inability to win the league for almost a decade.
Samuel Boadu all of a sudden became a household name in Ghana and within the high echelons of the football people. At a certain period when the Ghana FA had sacked coach Milo and the search for a new gaffer was on, coach Samuel Boadu’s name managed to appear among the shortlisted top coaches to take over the top job at the Black Stars.
However, the Phobians participation in the elite continental club competition was characterised by total annihilation, as they were kicked out by an experienced WAC of Morocco.
A second chance afforded the former continental champions to participate in the Confederation Cup, following their tumble from the Champions League.
Another North African side, JS Saoura, Algeria, sent Hearts packing, following a humiliating 4-0 second leg win to cancel Hearts’ win in the first leg.
Asante Kotoko winning the league last year and Hearts losing their last matches by incredible margins, marked the beginning of the end for the once held in high esteem and heralded Samuel Boadu. His technical expertise came into serious question, due to his highly unpardonable mistakes in team selection and formation.
That notwithstanding, Hearts recorded a resounding 2-1 victory over Kotoko to win the President’s Cup and crashed BechemUnited to defend the FA Cup, under the tutelage of coach Samuel Boadu.
Has Boadu really lost his magic wand? Could he turn the fortunes of the oldest existing club as the new season is gaining moment?
Kotoko and Hearts faced off last Sunday on match day 3 of the Betpawa Premier League in a game that the Phobians appeared to be the huge favourites.
However, a shambolic display nearly handed a cheap victory to Kotoko, as Hearts looked too ordinary and lacked direction from the technical bench.
Notwithstanding their painful exit from the Champions League under bizarre circumstances a week earlier, Kotoko looked more purposeful in all departments of the game and deserved a resounding victory.
Coach Boadu’s post match interview
After his side’s unimpressive performance in the supper clash, coach Boadu said his game plan was adversely affected when star player Gladson Awako picked a knock.
“I wanted to outplay them because I know Hearts of Oak is better than Kotoko. It’s quite unfortunate, Awako picked a knock and that destroyed our plan”, he said.
“As for Kotoko I know their weakness so I told my boys to keep their composure because we will bounce back”. He added.
Boadu again intimated that the absence of talisman, Daniel Afriyie Bannie, Mohammed Alhassan and newly signed showstopper, Ofori Antwi to have affected his side.
“We missed all of them, their absence brought the spirit of the team down, but with them in subsequent games, people will see different Hearts of Oak”, he stressed.
Clearly, connoisseurs of the game could forgive trainer Boadu if he said the absence of Mohammed Alhassan and Daniel Afriyie Bannie affected Hearts in the Super Clash.
However, it would be absolutely unforgiving if coach Boadu associates his inability to contain Kotoko or beat them in the Super Clash to the absence of “Allawa”, the goalkeeper.
This is because Hearts has two fantastic goalkeepers, in the persons of Richard Atta and Richmond Ayi. Ayi, for instance, proved his mettle on Sunday when he stood between Kotoko and a win.
The Phobians are yet to win a game after match day three and this is a major concern for many supporters of the club, because it seems to follow a similar trend the club suffered last season.
Interestingly, Mr Boadu himself is equally worried about this development and expressed his frustration after Sunday’s game in Kumasi
He said “I’m worried about the club’s winless run this season, this is not what I want things to be but we should also know that all three games we have played are difficult. We will know how to move match after match”.
It is good that the gaffer made this honest admission but it is surprising that he did not accept responsibility, especially as his players failed to create decent chances, either from the middle or the flanks, to open up the opponent.
Obviously, all is not well, if what happened to the Phobians last season is juxtaposed against what is currently happening, in terms of their poor start.
A similar shambolic start saw the dethroned champions place 6th at the end of last season’s league. As to whether Samuel Boadu could be the best Shepherd to the Phobians flock to the promise land, only time will tell.