Hearts former CEO wants derby name for Hearts-Kotoko game

There have been calls for Ghana to have a branded name for its biggest football derby between Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko.

According to the experts, a football “derby” is a match between two nearby teams with a long-standing rivalry. Derby matches can also involve teams from the same town or city (Everton and Liverpool) or neighbouring towns or cities (Southampton and Portsmouth).

The El Clásico, perhaps, is considered one of the most exciting derbies in the world of football. It is contested between the two giants of Spanish football, Real Madrid and Barcelona. The game is seen by millions worldwide as both clubs have a massive global fan base.

The Derby d’Italia is another intense rivalry between two Italian giants – Inter Milan and Juventus. The two clubs are based in different cities.

It is, therefore, not out of place to call the Hearts-Kotoko clash a derby. But what name must the biggest Ghana derby carry?

For now, matches between the two Gullivers of the Ghanaian game are usually dubbed “Super Clash,” “Super 2” and the “Titanic Clash” among others.

However, former Chief Executive of Hearts, Mr. Neil Armstrong-Mortagbe, thinks “a unique identified name must be carved out to fit the clash between arguably two of Ghana’s most successful clubs.”

“Names like the “Super Clash” and “Super 2″ for me are too generic,” he told the Times Sports yesterday.

Mr. Armstrong-Mortagbe said Ghana should have “its own original name to such derbies as it is in the case of the ‘Ga Manste’ derby between Hearts and Great Olympics.”

“We could be thinking about coming out with names like the ‘Oak-Porcupine derby,’ the ‘Ogyakrom derby’ or the ‘Ghanaman derby’ to mention a few,” added the ex-Hearts CEO, who is a marketing consultant and communications guru.

He said the Hearts-Kotoko rivalry can be traced back to more than six decades ago.

“During this time, countless managers and players have come and gone, but the clubs have lived on with their pride and legacy being passed on from generation to generation to keep the rivalries fueled.

The marketing consultant was full of praise for the performance exhibited by the two teams at Sunday’s outstanding league tie that ended barren at the Accra Sports Stadium.

According to the records, the first game between Hearts and Kotoko was played on August 24, 1958 at the Sir Francis Jacksons Park in Kumasi. The match was, however, abandoned after 70 minutes when Kotoko’s Gargo Moro reportedly refused to leave the pitch after being shown the marching-off orders.

Hearts were then leading 4-3, after taking a commanding 3-0 romp.

Nearly three months later (November 2, 1958), the two clubs met again in what was deemed a replayed league game at the Jackson Park (now Jubilee Park) with Hearts running amok 5-2 against their arch-rivals.

BY JOHN VIGAH

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