The relationship between Ghana and Serbia in football is one feature to reckon with. A typical proof is Milovan Rajevac leading the Black Stars to a sterling performance during the 2010 FIFA world cup. The best performance from the team by far in the elite tournament. Even prior to that, it was a Serbian coach ; Ratomir Dujkovic who lead the BlackStars to their maiden world cup tournament. It is evident that these Serbian coaches, for it is worth naturally gel with Ghanaian players hence leave a latent mark of finesse all over the teams they handle.
Hearts Of Oak just like their country, also have a good coaching rapport with Serbians as well. Seeing the likes of Kosta Papic and Neboja Vucicevic at the helm of the club some years back. The former actually left a latent mark on the Phobian team when he imperiously led Accra Hearts of Oak to clinch their 20th league title. It has since been a frustrating wanderous walk in the Sahara dessert as they look ardently for their 21st title this season to catch up with their arch-rivals; Asante Kotoko (23) who are 3 trophies ahead of them.
Hearts of Oak this season decided to stir up old flames by giving the much awaited call-up to the Serbian trainer, Kosta Papic to take over the reins of the club from Edward Nii Odoom. Old flames they say, die hard and Papic has rekindled the verve and tenacity we saw back in 2008/2009 season when he won the GPL title with them. Prior to his arrival, Hearts of Oak hadn’t registered a win in the season amidst certain roadblocks faced by Covid-19 in their camp. It was a worrisome period for the club and the fans as well. They finished the truncated season in 2020, 9th on the table having registered only 5 wins, a very substandard performance especially for a club of their calibre. Fast forward to 2021, Hearts of Oak are in a form which has everyone stunned. The “Kosta Papic” effect and signature is written all over them and it is all enthusiasm and positivity in their camp. The Phobians are currently 4th on the table having secured 4 pivotal wins this season out of 9 matches so far. An unforgettable clash which left all critics, fans and Ghanaians in awe was that of Hearts of Oak and Bechem United. The Phobians were composed, had the verve and dominated all aspects of the field as they thumped the Hunters by 6 goals to 1 at the Accra Sports Stadium. He has bagged 14 goals with his squad and has been applauded by the management and fans as well for his incredible milestone so far.
A major highlight of Papic’s tenure is the fact that he has lost just a single game in charge of the Phobians, drawn 2 and has bagged 4 wins. Many fans and pundits are predicting a relatively good season for the 60 -year-old as the odds are all in his favor. He told the media, winning the Premier League title for the second time is what motivated his return to the club. A bold statement made by the Serbian. “What made me come back to Hearts of Oak was to win the league and possibly the CAF Champions League.
I believe the team has the capacity to do that and we are working on it, it is nit easy but we are going to fight for it”, he told fox fm.
Well we cannot overlook the fact that in the 2008/2009 , he almost bottled the league title after having an impressive run with the team at the time. He unfortunately got sacked by the hierarchy of Hearts of Oak with seven games in hand after a down streak of performances. Their 14 points lead at the beginning of the season was dwindled to 5 in the second round of the Glo Premier League and this called for an immediate action on Papic’s future at the time. Fortunately, they kept their composure and went all out to win the league that season with 52 points, three above arch-rivals, Asante Kotoko. A narrow escape indeed at the time. Well fans wouldn’t want to see a replica of that predicament this season. Seeing the team win the league after 11 long years would light up the aura and passion in the club. They have waited for this moment for so long and winning their 21st league title in 2021 will not only be a poetic feat but also a long awaited dream fulfilled.
7 games are surely not enough to judge a coach’s performance but Kosta Papic has literally breathed in a sense of great teamwork spirit, passion and zeal in to this Hearts Squad and the fans wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hearts Of Oak play Brekum Chelsea away from home on Friday. Brekum Chelsea are currently 15th on the League table.
Source : Esther Appiah-Fei