Michael Kwayisi

A Brief History of Accra Hearts of Oak

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Early years, glorious days, and some achievementsEarly years, glorious days, and some achievements

Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club, commonly referred to as Hearts of Oak or just Hearts, is a football club based in Accra, Ghana. The club was officially formed on 11th November, 1911 and was the second team to be founded in Accra after The Invincibles. It is the oldest existing club in Ghana today, and among the oldest clubs in the whole of the African continent.

Hearts, who are affectionately nicknamed Phobia, have been among Ghana's pre-eminent clubs since their founding and have been very successful since the formation of the Ghanaian football league in 1956, having collected the league title 19 times. The club's main rival is Asante Kotoko of Kumasi. The club also have a long-standing rivalry with the Accra-based club Great Olympics.

Early years

When some young men from Ussher Town in Accra came together sometime in the middle of 1910, little did they know that they were sowing the seed which would one day blossom into the mighty oak tree, Accra Hearts of Oak, the oldest existing club in Ghana today. In fact, those glorious pioneers had been bound together by one single desire—to form a club to challenge the only then existing team in Accra, The Invincibles.

The group was made up of mainly young men from the James Town area. But it was the young man from Saltpond, where the game of soccer had been played earlier on, who gave the newly formed club inspiration and guidance. He was Ackom Duncan who became its first captain. Duncan took up the training of the players and by 1911, Hearts were ready to take on the Invincibles. But it was on November 11, the same year that Hearts outdoored their first jerseys and thus formally was born the club which was to grow into easily one of the most popular clubs in Africa to date.

In 1917, Hearts decided to change its colours. The task was accomplished by Bruce-Tagoe who came out with the "rainbow colours"—red, yellow, and blue. When it was approved, a set of jerseys in the new colours was ordered from Manchester, UK. Outdooring of the new jerseys was marked with a match against the old rivals, The Invincibles. Hearts won by a lone goal.

The first major triumph by Hearts in competitive soccer came in 1922 when the then Governor of the Gold Coast, Sir Gordon Guggisberg, donated a shield for an Accra football league in Accra which had been firmly established in 1920. Hearts won the first competition and the Guggisberg Shield at stake becoming the first city Champions. Hearts went on to win it six times out of 12 competitions and are its proud custodians today having won the last contest in 1954.

Glory years of 2000s

In the millennial year 2000, Hearts of Oak had a perfect campaign by winning the Ghana FA Cup, the Ghana Premier League and the CAF Champions League. This tremendous historical success however came after an unconvincing start to the season when they lost the J. O. T. Agyemang cup to the main arch rivals Asante Kotoko F.C. at the Accra sports stadium in January 2000 and were also eliminated in the preliminary stages of the Guinness Gala 2000. Their season did kick off after the return of Ishmael Addo from trials in Europe and the controversial signing of Charles Asampong Taylor. Hearts inflicted a 4-0 defeat on their arch rivals Asante Kotoko on their way to winning the league with several matches to spare.

In the CAF Champions League competition (which Hearts had never won before), they managed to embark on an almost flawless campaign losing only one game in Kinshasa to DC Motema Pembe of Congo DR. In the two-legged final of the tournament, Hearts of Oak beat Espérance Sportive de Tunis of Tunisia in the first leg by 2-1 at the El Menzah stadium, effectively ending Espérance's 41-year-long unbeaten home record in continental competition. In the second leg, Hearts beat them 3-1 at the Accra Sports Stadium, in a match slightly marred by a self-inflicted injury by Espérance's goalkeeper Chokri El Ouaer.

In February 2001, Hearts topped off a perfect campaign with a 2-0 victory against Zamalek club of Egypt at the Kumasi Sports stadium in Ghana to win the Africa Super Cup. Three years later, in 2004, Hearts won the first edition of the CAF Confederation Cup, the merger of the defunct African Cup Winners Cup and the CAF Cup. Hearts beat arch rivals Asante Kotoko 8-7 on penalties after the two legs ended 2-2. The win made Hearts of Oak the first club to have won both annual club competitions on the continent.

Records and achievements

  1. The only club in Africa to have played the CAF Champions League unbeaten (2000).
  2. The only club in Ghana to have won the league on most consecutive times. (Six, 1997-2002)
  3. The club in Ghana to win the league title with most points, 78 out of 90. (2002)
  4. The only club in Ghana to have played the premier league unbeaten. (2003)
  5. The only club to have hosted Santos FC of Brazil and the then Pelé in Ghana. (c. 1956)
  6. The first club in Africa to win the CAF Confederation Cup. (2004)
  7. The first ever club in Africa to have undergone shares floatation. (2011)
  8. The club with the most competitive trophies in Ghana.
  9. The only club to have won an African quadruple in a single season. (2000/1)
  10. The Ghanaian club to be ranked highest on world rankings, 8th. (CNN, 2001)

Did you know?

Hearts of Oak was actually formed in 1910 but had its formal foundation day of 11th November, 1911, the day on which the club was finally ready to take on The Invincibles.

The original fight song of the club was:

Our roots, our roots are old
So be quiet and don't be silly
We are the mighty Hearts of Oak
We never say die

but has since changed to:

Auros, auros, auros
Be quiet and don't be silly
We are the famous Hearts of Oak
We never say die

Comments (19)

  1. PeterPeter
    Dec 24, 2020 22:53 GMT

    A tribute to the Hearts of Oak team.
    I painted a table football team in the colors used in the CAF champions league 2000. It was the year I was travelling in Ghana.


  2. PomasiPomasi
    Jul 28, 2016 10:06 GMT

    And the match against Santos ended 2 2 . Hearts even had a goal wrongly ruled out as offside. Pele scored in that match.
    And Hearts is the only team to have win all the first 14 matches in Ghana league history.. 42 points out of a possible 42.(2002).

    The fearsome fivesome( 7. Robert Hammond, 8. Anas Seidu 9. Peter Lamptey(Goal chief) , 10.Mahama Acquah(Field Marshall) and 11. Mohammed Ahmed Polo(Dribbling magician ) ) started playing tiki-taka before Cruff's Ajax.
    Phooobia, Beatiful people with Beatiful colors
    Phooobia!! The continental club masters
    Phoooobia!!! Masters

    May 23, 2017 17:08 GMT


  4. Agyemang BernardAgyemang Bernard
    May 20, 2017 13:06 GMT

    I am proud to be a phobian.the best club in the country.come on

    I am pleading to the executive of hearts to have a short code for the phobians so that an amount will be deducted monthly

  5. OwusuOwusu
    Sep 1, 2015 08:00 GMT

    All da records is true woooowwwww.pooohbia dedeeeda pohbia bobobooooobo we never say die.pls tell me wht happen in da year 1990 mtn FA Cup.i wnt to no more detials dat year

  6. Bismark AppiahBismark Appiah
    Dec 6, 2017 20:47 GMT

    wwaaaaawww phoooobia no size , the first club to beat the first club in Ghana ( invincibles) .... never say die ... the only club to win six consecutive times 1997 - 2002 ...

  7. Benjamin DziwornuBenjamin Dziwornu
    Oct 17, 2019 09:38 GMT

    Phoobia the unbeaten team ever, the only first club in Africa to played the CAF Champion League on unbeaten and win.

  8. kwame gyankwame gyan
    Aug 4, 2017 17:32 GMT

    hearts is not as attractive as kotoko.
    kotoko is greater than hearts in every sense

  9. Kennedy Ohene Offei AsieduKennedy Ohene Offei Asiedu
    Jun 25, 2016 12:08 GMT

    waaaaoooooow Phooooooobia ma darling club congratulations....God is still blessing us .... phooooobia ....we appreciate the effort....may we live long with with e same records...hail hearts of oak ..hail phobia

  10. SamuelSamuel
    May 25, 2016 06:37 GMT

    so if all these records are there,why do they so noise team(Kotoko) talk a lot and CAF names kotoko as the club of the century, Phobiaaa Papapaa Salute all fans of Phobia and the board of directors

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