It will be all about redemption for Accra Hearts of Oak when they face off with Elmina Sharks in their match day eight Ghana Premier League(GPL) fixture at the Nduom Sports Stadium today.
The bottom-placed defending champions must rescue their dwindling fortunes following the chains of abysmal performances in recent times both in the league and in Africa.
The Phobians are yet to win a game in four matches and were eliminated from the CAF Confederations Cup, after a humiliating 4-0 defeat in their last game played ahead of today’s encounter.
With continental football now out of the way, Hearts will focus on the league and attempt to close the gap at the top with three outstanding matches on their hands.
The likes of King Faisal, Aduana Stars and Kumasi Asante Kotoko have already indicated their interest in the league title with some dominant performances to occupy the summit of the league table.
The best way for Hearts to begin climbing and possibly catch up with the leaders would be to get their first win of the season at the expense of Elmina Sharks.
Though it appears a Herculean Task considering Sharks’ resilience at home, Hearts must find a win to regain their confidence and give fans something to cheer about ahead of Christmas.
Coach Samuel Boadu, following the support from Hearts’ management and supporters despite the bad results, must fulfill the trust reposed in him with a great performance and win.
Players including Emmanuel Nettey, Salifu Ibrahim, Daniel Afriyie Barnie and Mohammed Fatawu must be at their very best if Hearts were to earn their first win.
Sharks would, however, come at Hearts with a plan to upset the champions and deepen their woes.
They also appear very organized and composed at home. And with support from their loyal fans, Hearts must put up something extraordinary to grind something out of the game.
In another interesting midweek clash, AshantiGold who are chasing a top four position would play second placed Aduana Stars at Obuasi.
Fifth-placed AshantiGold could leapfrog Aduana Stars with a win and climb into top four since they are only separated from their opponents with three points.
With only a defeat in seven games, Aduana Stars would also be looking forward to maintaining their spot with a win away from home.
Both teams are desperate for the three points and having displayed some enterprising football so far, the match would be keenly contested.
League leaders King Faisal, in their quest to maintain their outstanding form and position would square off with Accra Lions at Sogakope.
A win would see Alhaji Grusah’s team cement their place on top of the league table as they have been tipped as one of the favourites to win this season’s league.
The Alhaji Grusah boys seem to be enjoying the best run since joining the elite competition; the height of that competitive spirit been the first and only defeat of Asante Kotoko.
Kumasi Asante Kotoko would face Real Tamale United (RTU) at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in a clash expected to be full of thrills.
The Porcupine Warriors, who are third on the league table with an outstanding match against Hearts of Oak, won four out of their six games with a defeat and a draw.
They would also hope to bounce back from the defeat they suffered in the hands of King Faisal and give their city rivals a good run for their money.
The likes of Razak Abalora, Isaac Oppong, Fabio Gama and Mudasiru Salifu are in superb form and would lead the charge for Kotoko in their quest to get back to winning ways.
Elsewhere, Dreams FC would square off with Karela at Dawu in another mouthwatering encounter with sensational Fatawu Issahaku hoping to continue with his rich goal scoring form.
Medeama would play against Legon Cities in Tarkwawhile Berekum Chelsea and WAFA face off at Berekum.
Accra Great Olympics would begin with the games with a 10am kick off game against Bibiani Gold Stars at Sogakope.
The Wonder Club started impressively but appears to have slacked a bit, going winless in their last three games.
That does not look good for a team that is aiming at winning the championship to access a GH¢100m component of a recent sponsorship signed between the club and McDan Shipping.
But Gold Stars would not come as easy prey for the Wonder Club, having put up some wonderful displays as they aim at making their stay in the Premiership permanent.
It would be a game of equals considering the strength of the two clubs but Oly’s hunger and thirst for a win could give them a slight edge to go for the maximum points.
BY MICHAEL D.ABAYATEYE