Source:Accra Hearts of Oak
On the 11th day of the second month of the year, and for a Club born on the 11th day of the 11th month, Hearts of Oak became the first, and still remain the only, Ghanaian Club to win the Africa Super Club Cup.
The Phobians wrote their name in African football folklore when they beat Egyptian and African powerhouse Zamalek of Egypt in Kumasi on the 11th February, 2001, and sowed the seed to become Africa’s premier Club to win all three continental trophies in the 21st century.
The millennium CAF Champions League winners had completed an historic treble in Ghana football, having won the League and FA Cup in the year 2000.
Accra Hearts of Oak, the reigning African Club Champions, were under a one-year suspension from the Confederation of African Football and were thus banned from playing at the Accra Sports Stadium after an unruly incident occurred in the stands in the Champions League final win over Esperance Du Tunis.
The Rainbow Club were moved to Kumasi, the garden city of Ghana, where they welcomed Zamalek away from home at the 25,000 filled Kumasi Sports Stadium as punishment for crowd trouble.
However, the Phobians – aiming to confirm their claim to Africa’s top club prize and embellish their record as the only Ghanaian side to win the Africa Super Cup – opened the scoring in the 12th minute of the game after Emmanuel Osei Kuffour’s corner kick was misjudged by the Zamalek goalkeeper Abdel-Wahed, who failed to control the high-crossed ball, for Charles Assampong Taylor to tap home.
Zamalek, one of Africa’s most successful Club sides having won the African Champions League a – then – record four times, and in search of its third Super Cup which would have earned them the right to keep the trophy, quickly regrouped after the early Hearts goal.
Otto Pfister, the Zamalek and former Ghana coach, had sought to remedy the incessant Hearts attack but it was rather the lack of cutting edge by ATTUQUAYEFIO’s side that provided the Egyptians a reprieve.
Hearts had numerous chances to kill the game in the first half with Osei Kuffour, Ishmael Addo and Charles Taylor going close to increasing the tally but they were thwarted numerous times by the Zamalek defense.
Cecil Jones Attuquayefio’s side came out of recess in lightening fashion as Emmanuel Osei Kuffour was on hand to slot in Charles Taylor’s nicely executed pass 10 seconds into the second half to double the score. The visitor’s defense had wrongly judged a long pass as doomed to cross the goal line for a goal kick. But Charles Taylor’s pace rescued the ball on the line and his angled pass fell right at the feet of the maestro, the general, the incomparable Osei Kuffour.
Hearts were so dominant in the game that even Africa’s most capped International, Hossam Hassan and Egyptian League leading scorer Tareq El-Said found no space to express themselves throughout the game, so much that the imperious Zamalek looked far from impressive.
Abdul Latif came close to narrowing the gap few minutes to the hour but Daniel Quaye was on hand to smother the danger on the goal line – the closest the Egyptians came to troubling the Hearts back line.
As the game wore on, darling striker Ishmael Addo saw his goal-bound volley acrobatically cleared by the Zamalek keeper, who ended up colliding with the goal post in the last 10 minutes of the game.
Addo was denied the opportunity to join striking partner Osei Kuffour to complete a hat-trick of scoring in all Hearts’ continental finals in 2000 – the duo having each scored in Tunis and Accra in the Champions League.
Zamalek won the hearts and respect of Hearts fans as their magnanimity in defeat saw them exhibit exquisite levels of sportsmanship with their eagerness to exchange shirts with Hearts players.
And Hearts players replicated the respect for their opponents when they climbed the trophy presentation stage clad in the white jersey of Zamalek.
Kumasi, the home of rivals Kotoko, had finally seen a Continental Cup for the first time in close to two decades, and all thanks to Accra Hearts of Oak. Hearts of Oak fans in Kumasi would come back to smile again as destiny brought the Phobians to Kumasi four years later to annex another Continental Cup – The “Virgin” CAF Confederation Cup in 2005 in the hands of bitterest rivals, Kumasi Asante Kotoko.
In effect, Accra Hearts of Oak has won two African continental Cups in the Garden City. We are famous Hearts of Oak. We are the Continental Club Masters!!! We are grateful to the following gallant men who made victory over Zamalek a reality:
Sammy Adjei; Amankwah Mireku, Jacob Nettey(c), Dan QUAYE, Stephen Tetteh; Edmund Copson, Charles Taylor, Adjah Tetteh/Abdul Razak, Charles Allotey/Emmanuel Adjogu; Emmanuel Osei Kuffour, Ishmael Addo.
Coach: Cecil Jones ATTUQUAYEFIO