From the scores of talented footballers who have turned out for Kotoko and Hearts since 2000, we draw the finest line-up
By: Benjamin Gyamera Appiah Nuamah & Joshua Ansah
It takes plenty of talent, guts and good fortune to excel for Ghana’s two biggest clubs, Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak, and while not every player who’s showed up for either side has managed it, the vast majority have. As the pair prepare to do battle today on Matchday 10 of the 2016 Ghana Premier League season, KickerGH strings together a sample of the best men the two stables have had on show since the turn of the century in a 3-5-2 formation.
Easily the starting choice for a spot in goal. The stopper was exceptional during his spells with Hearts of Oak and fully deserves a place in this line-up.
DAN Quaye: Resolute in the tackle and a real commanding presence at the back, Quaye gets the nod as the sole centre-back in our three-man rearguard.
AMANKWAH Mireku: Leader extraordinaire and a full-back ahead of his time, who wouldn’t want the legendary and uber-successful Mireku out wide?
HARRISON Afful: The left-back joined Kotoko from Feyenoord Academy (now WAFA) in 2007 and instantly became a regular. A year later, he masterminded the club’s first-ever victory over Hearts in Accra since 1993 with a tailor-measured free-kick which teammate Francis Coffie rose above his marker to convert.
STEPHEN Oduro: Arguably the man who has survived more years of derby action between Kotoko and Hearts than all else, the dimunitive ‘Tico-Tico’ is an institution at Kotoko. Oduro, though a ripe 33, amazingly remains a first-team player with the Reds and may play a part, however small, in Monday’s fixture.
DANIEL Nii Adjei: A talented midfielder blessed with astounding passing technique and an incredible eye for goal who radiated all over the pitch for Kotoko, he now dazzles for TP Mazembe.
MICHAEL Akuffo: The former Porcupine Warriors captain is remembered most for his last-gasp 40-yard howitzer which handed Kotoko a 2-1 win over Hearts in Kumasi during the 2011-12 season. Such was the authority he wielded in the middle of the park that he was nicknamed Gaddafi, after the late Libyan despot.
CHARLES Taylor: Taylor, the only man in this team who played on both sides of the Kotoko-Hearts divide, is remembered in recent times more for the ultimately detrimental drama that surrounded his career but was doubtlessly a sight for sore eyes on the pitch.
Laryea Kingston: The man with the magical swing of a foot, nationaal hero Laryea is one of the best midfielders to have emerged from Hearts in recent memory.
ISHMAEL Addo: A goal machine of real quality, this list will be incomplete without the prolific forward who claimed three Premier League topscorer prizes.
ERIC Bekoe: Bekoe, now with Sekondi Hasaacas, scored several important goals for Kotoko, including one against Hearts of Oak in 2008. He marched on to win the league goalking award that season.