Muntari in Hearts colours will be great Armstrong-Mortagbe

One of Ghana’s World Cup heroes, Sulley Muntari, has been linked to top elite side Accra Hearts of Oak. 

The news, predictably, has ignited rave reviews in the media with the club’s faithful too divided over the quality the 35-year-old combative central midfielder brings into the fold.

But there are those who believe that such a purchase would be priceless for the Rainbow contingent.

One of such positive minds is former Managing Director of Hearts, Neil Armstrong Mortagbe, who sees Muntari’s potential acquisition as a potentially viable proposition. 

“Just out of curiosity, I believe there are thousands of Hearts and Ghanaian football fans who would want to see the impact that Sulley would have on a Hearts of Oak team yearning for a return to its glory days. 

“This would translate into high stadium attendance and media attention on the star midfielder,” he asserted.

Muntari, a former Inter Milan and AC Milan midfielder, has played in all Ghana’s three World Cup tournaments (2006, 2010 and 2014).

According to Mr Armstrong-Mortagbe, should Hearts snatch Muntari’s signature – the player exhibiting a couple of eye-catching performances early on, “Hearts could be reaping major benefits in gate proceeds as more fans would begin thronging the stadium to watch the club’s matches.”

“This would even be of benefit to other clubs when Hearts visit their home grounds with Sulley Muntari in the Phobian line-up.”

He asserted that there had been times when Ghanaian footballers who have spent a number of years playing in foreign leagues have expressed intentions to return to the local game.

“Sadly, most of the time, these expressed intentions have been brushed aside and sometimes ridiculed. 

“But could some of these players actually not be a source of potential enhanced value for our local game? Could they not bring some renewed interest to a local football brand in serious need of a fresh injection of energy and enthusiasm?” the renowned marketing and business development expert quizzed. 

He said these overtures from the nation’s celebrated stars are worthy of consideration, since it would serve as a window for other accomplished returnees.

“Should Sulley Muntari make the desired impact with Hearts of Oak, it could change this attitude towards our players who have had foreign stints and want to come back to Ghana to play actively.

“Indeed, if our clubs can strategically position themselves within their relevant communities, they could attract additional revenue and resource streams whilst building strong attractive brands to attract the Muntaris, Asamoah Gyans and other big name players towards the twilight of their careers for short term contracts to boost their brand image, improve attendance and ultimately improve the local league,” he avered.

Mr Armstrong-Mortagbe observed, however, that there could be few critical points, to consider in this endeavour.

“Much as I have highlighted potentially positive aspects of a potential registration of Sulley Muntari by Hearts, and what his successful integration into the team could do for the club, there’s the need to also consider possible challenges.

“How does the club manage the towering profile of a player of Muntari’s stature? His world view; his accomplishments and persona. How does the coach of the club work with a player of Muntari’s international pedigree and temperament for the benefit of the team? How does the club manage the player’s engagement with the extremely expectant fans of Hearts of Oak?”

He said if these critical areas are well managed, Hearts would be dashing for a very probable great outcome.

“Whilst the registration of the celebrated Muntari, celebrated Ghanaian midfielder by Hearts, remains a matter of speculation, it certainly feels like a very interesting proposition – an idea worth dreaming about, seeing Muntari in the glorious red, yellow and blue and of the Phobian army.

“Certainly, that will be a beautiful sight to behold,” added Mr Armstrong-Mortagbe, who was a former Chairman of the National Chapters Committee of Hearts. 

BY JOHN VIGAH

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