Hearts of Oak crashed out of the CAF Confederation Cup over the weekend after suffering a second consecutive mauling at the hands of Northern African opponents.
Hearts, who qualified for this season’s CAF Champions League following a successful season which saw them lift last season’s Ghana Premier League title, were bullied out of the Champions League.
Samuel Boadu led Hearts to a 1-0 win over Wydad Atletic Club in the preliminary stage and were one step away from securing a place in the group stages.
But in a woeful away performance, Hearts relinquished their lead to Wydad. Before halftime, Hearts had caved in and conceded four goals.
In the second half, Hearts managed to grab a goal, but only long after Wydad had completed their rout and scored six.
Another spineless away performance
Hearts, despite securing a 2-0 advantage from their first leg win in Accra, were unable to build on in Algeria. The rainbow club surrendered their aggregate lead to JS Saoura within 40 minutes of the first half.
The half-time break, which should’ve served as a moment for the reigning Ghana Premier League champions to catch a break and regroup, failed to serve its purpose. Saoura claimed the lead on aggregate two minutes into the second half, by adding a third goal.
Hearts mounted a mid-second half rally in search of an away goal, which will have turned the tie in their favour. However Saoura buried their aspirations, and left Hearts sprawling out of the Confederation Cup by scoring their fourth.
After returning to the African stage – which zealous Hearts fans believe is a birthright, judging off their rich history – Hearts conceded 10 goals in only 2 away CAF competitive games.
What now for Hearts?
A painful exit, but the club will look to reorganize quickly to save a season which already looks to be heading sideways.
The club are currently lying bottom in the Ghana Premier League, albeit playing two games less. Nonetheless, it still is a worrisome season.
Hearts with three draws and a defeat, have failed to win any of their four league matches and Hesse Herman, chairman of Hearts’ National Chapters Committee, suggests the club’s league form is as a result of their participation in CAF’s competitions.
“These current players that we’ve got are not too experienced in the African continent and playing on the local scene. It looks as if they are overburdened and there’s some sort of fatigue,” he said to JoySports.
Looking ahead, Herman believes their exit from CAF’s competitions can be the turnaround for their league season.
“For some of us who have been following Hearts of Oak for quite some time; from childhood especially, this is no surprise to me. Some times when we are playing in the African competitions, we tend to have difficulties in the local game, so for me it is not a surprise to me that we are not performing too well on the local scene. But very soon everything will get back to order and I’m sure Hearts will start playing their normal game,” he said on JoySports’ Sports Link.
After guiding the club to Premier League and FA Cup titles, it all seems to be toppling down for Samuel Boadu, a man who had the world at his feet just five months ago – mind you, his wedding was broadcasted live on national television.
The manner of exit will be painful, especially after Boadu claimed to ‘have learnt a lot’ following their very humbling defeat to Wydad. Unfortunately, it is not going to get any easier, with Hearts preparing for a set of tricky league fixtures ahead.
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