The clash to determine who emerges as the legitimate ‘landlords’ of Accra will be contested today when Hearts of Oak confront local rivals Great Olympics in a local derby at the Accra Stadium as the Ghana Premier league (GPL) enters its 14th week.
The traditional game with a rich history which has over the years ignited emotions and passions from players and fans from both sides is unlikely to experience any difference in the tense atmosphere as both isle of fans are expected to fill the stands to chant and scream their teams on to victory.
Both sides would be eager for victory in tonight’s match-up as it may spark a potential change in fortunes or a downward spiral that may be difficult to recover from.
Hearts need a win badly to curtail the pressure trickling in from their fan base – who have been incensed with their team’s disappointing grab of two points from an available six at the Accra Stadium.
Added to their frustration is the drab performances from the team and sub-par performances from regulars such as Joseph Esso, Daniel Afriyie, Frederick Ansah and Mohammed Alhassan.
A win over the their city rivals may bring back the love and support from their fans that is deeply desired as well as galvanise the revival of ‘Phobians’ impregnable stature on home turf.
However, unlike like their neighbours, Olympics are enjoying a resurgence under new gaffer Annor Walker. Though it has not been a flood of good results from the onset, Olympic fans have lauded Walker for the massive improvements in their play since he took over the reins at the ‘Wonder’ club.
The weekend’s 2-0 win over Ebusua Dwarfs placed Olympics a shed away from the bottom three and a victory may keep them farther from the drop.
The last meeting between the sides ahead of the league season witnessed Hearts annexing the Homowo Cup at the expense of their opponents, handing them a 3-1 defeat on penalties after the two-legged fixture ended goalless and 1-1.
Their last meeting in the league was in 2017 where Hearts battled to a frantic 2-1 win over the Wonder Club, a loss that worsened Olympics battle against beating the drop in a season that saw them relegated.
In other Premiership games today, leaders Aduana’s hold on the summit would be tested when they face a bruised West African Football Academy (WAFA) reeling from their 4-1 loss to Legon Cities last Friday.
The Academy boys’ 6-1 humiliation of Ashantigold at their favourite Sogakope base has set visiting teams on high alert with Aduana no exception given the fact that they have suffered one of the season’s heaviest defeat at the Carl Reindolf against Liberty (5-2).
This sets up an exciting clash in Sogakope with Aduana eager to maintain their slim lead on the league log, while home side WAFA are desperate to give their home fans something to smile about after disappointing in Accra.
At Tarkwa, Medeama will have the chance to overtake Aduana if they are able to secure a comfortable win at home against Eleven Wonders. With just a goal difference separating the two, a goal harvest against the visitors will take the Miners to league summit, pending Kotoko who are placed third -producing a similar result in their Thursday clash against Elmina Sharks.
At the Len Clay Stadium , Ashgold will be hoping to return to winning ways when they host Bechem United. After earning a point at Aduana, following a 6-1 defeat at WAFA ,a victory will place the Miners back in top four places.
In Dawu, Dreams will hope to return to winning ways when they face Karela, while Legon Cities trek to the Golden City Park for their crunch tie against Chelsea.
At the Cape Coast Stadium, Dwarfs will face King Faisal in a relegation fight with both sides wallowing deep in the relegation trenches.
On Thursday, Asante Kotoko will hope to continue their winning run when they face a well-drilled Sharks side at the Accra Sports Stadium, while Liberty Professionals will receive a major test when they line up against the Victorien Adebayor-led Inter Allies.
BY NANA BENTSI ODURO