The clock is fast ticking for Ghana Premier League Champions, Hearts of Oak’s 2021/22 preliminarily CAF Champions League clash on Sunday.
The Phobians will represent Ghana at the continental club showpiece after claiming their first and 21st domestic league title 11 years last season.
A well cut out performance under head coach, Samuel Boadu after a jerky start due to changes in coaches, saw the oldest existing Ghana club collect 61 points with sworn rivals, Asante Kotoko coming second with 57 points after the entire season. Hearts of Oak who won the CAF Champions League in the year 2000 beating Tunisia club, Esperance 5-2 on aggregate over two legs, will have another bite at the continent’s biggest club competition.
The Phobians have been paired against Guinea side, Club Industriel de Kamsar for a one legged qualifier at the Accra Sports Stadium due to the Coup D’Etat in Guinea.
Club coach, Samuel Boadu in the course of last season’s domestic campaign introduced a terminology of “match-after-match” to signify the fact that he approaches every fixture by a step. That terminology has been corroborated by club’s goalkeeper, Richmond Ayi.
“I believe in the team and our technical team , notwithstanding , I believe the process continues, the ‘match after match’ theorem. “In football, you shouldn’t underestimate your opponent or feel complacent. I’m hoping for the best, for my side,” Richmond Ayi told Africa-foot.com
Despite enjoying a scanty playing time due to the form of first choice goalkeeper Richard Atta, Richmond Ayi believes collective effort was the driving force behind the club’s smooth outing last term.
“Well I wouldn’t call it magic, I feel it happened due to the collective perseverance, hardwork , evenness , listening and learning from our coaches and the zeal to win the trophy. All these came together pushing us to the eventual slot and of course lifting the trophy to break the aged jinx.” Richmond Ayi told Africa-foot.com
Hearts of Oak did not just claim the 2020/21 Ghana Premier League title but increased their [MTN] FA Cup title numbers after beating AshantiGold 8-7 on penalty shootouts in Accra to win a record 11th time. That feat meant Hearts Oak claimed a domestic double for the first time in two decades.
Ayi, who joined Hearts of Oak after leaving West Africa Football Academy describes the feeling as a dream come true having been part of the history.
“I feel very happy. In fact I feel super elated , bursting with pride. “It’s a dream come true, even though it was our top most priority to achieve such glory but then it turned out we got even more than we hoped for , and that really is dumbfounding.” Richmond Ayi Africa-foot.com.
The millennium champions will look to probably add another continental title to the 2000 CAF Champions League, 2001 CAF Super Cup and the 2004 CAF Confederation Cup.