Hearts of Oak’s 2002 Squad, Herbert Addo remain the Best Side to Ever Win the Ghana League

24hourssports.com salutes the 2002 squad of the Phobians for a record yet to be broken in the Ghana Premier League

A Follow on a footballing force mentored by newly appointed head coach Herbert Addo, spearheaded by Charles Taylor and Dong Bortey, and backed by the Hearts of Oak squad of 2002, together with the Fabulous Porcupine Warriors had raised the football industry standards on the local scene.

Sixty four years of league football in Ghana, 10 different champions; Kotoko 24, Hearts 20, Ashantigold four, Great Olympics and Aduana Stars two; Eleven Wise, Real Republicans, Sekondi Hasaacas, Dwarfs, Berekum Chelsea and Wa All Stars (Legon Cities FC) all have won it once and yet no one has come close to matching the exploits of the 2002 league conquering Hearts of Oak side.

This was the season Hearts of Oak, on a five consecutive year title winning streak, went on to win their sixth league title in a flamboyant fashion. They had won 25 games, drawn three and lost two, translating into 78 points; the highest tally to win the Ghana League in the then 44th year history of the league and still the highest point ever to win the league title.

Second placed Kumasi Asante Kotoko accumulated 75 points which is the highest point ever gained not to win the league, the mark is enough to win the league 51 times out of the 64-years of football league existence in Ghana. The record is only bettered by the 1989-90 Hearts of Oak league winning side who incidentally had 78 points in 1989, for the first time in the history of the league, the penalty shoot-out was introduced for a bonus point after a drawn game therefore, that Hearts team ended up with 27 wins and three defeats; and equaled by the resurgent Kumasi Asante Kotoko team of 2003.

Coach Addo had succeeded Cecil Jones Attuquayefio in March, 2002 unfazed by the latter’s achievement of winning the Ghana League four times, African Champions League and Super Cup in 2000 and 2001 respectively. Hearts of Oak were on the verge of being knocked out of Africa for the second year running by Stade de Malien. The core of the “64-battalion” had seek pastures anew. Emmanuel Osei Kuffour, Ishmael Addo, Amankwah Mireku, Jacob Nettey, and Emmanuel Adjogu had all left the club.

The first real blow had hit the Oak tree but with Hearts of Oak as in the words of Bright Akwettey: “Hearts have a rich tradition where it rises above all daunting task, perhaps, because of the Never Say Die Spirit.”

The Phobians did rise from that debacle in a manner and form unmarched in the  local football history.

Herbert Addo’s side relied on the experience of James Nanor, Eben “Dida” Armah, and Sammy Adjei with the trio sharing the goal keeping duties. The efficient but not exceptional stars lined-up in the defense; Hassan Mohammed, Dan Oppong, Dan Quaye, Stephen Tetteh, Kwabena Boafo, Richard Nii Noi, the injured duo, Agyemang Duah and Sannie Wahab.

The veterans Joe Ansah, Kenneth Sarpong, Adjah Tetteh, Charles Allotey and Edmund Copson were the machines in the middle, supported by youngsters Awuley Quaye, Laryea Kingston, Dong Bortey, Masawudu Yahya, Abdul Razak, and Samuel Monnie.

Strikers Emmanuel Donkor, George Eranio, Frank Turkson, Awudu Adama, Osmanu Amadu, Wisdom Abbey and Charles Taylor mollified the incubus of goal-scoring.

The record setters of 18 or even more years ago have been in oblivion for too long, but it is time soccer enthusiasts and plaudits took note having trumpeted an unbeaten side that recently lost their invincibility after 11 games.

The 2002 HEARTS OF OAK team remain in Ghana History as the best side STATISTICALLY to ever win the GHANA PREMIER LEAGUE and all credits to the late Herbert Addo!!

Ref: Ghana Premier League statistics


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