PHOBIA!: HEARTS STILL THE GPL’S TEAM TO BEAT

The Phobians are pushing through one barrier after the other as they make rapid progress in their bid to reclaim the land’s top spot

There’s a spell in every man’s life when things go so swimmingly that, even when problems arise, he merely seems to glide past them — not very unlike how Accra Hearts of Oak and its fans are feeling right now.

There hasn’t been a shortage of troughs in Hearts’ campaign thus far this term. From a seemingly ominous pre-season and a humiliating exit in the MTN FA Cup at the hands of a second-tier side to a painful derby defeat and rumours of monies owed players, as well as a row between head coach and the club’s hierarchy that’s quickly developing into a running feud, setbacks have been hurled from every angle at Hearts’ quest to reclaim supremacy on the domestic front.

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Coach Kenichi Yatsuhashi putting his players through their paces

And yet it’s like none of those ever existed, as Kenichi ‘Keni’ Yatsuhashi’s men have waltzed through each challenge, hurdling them as effortlessly as an East African long-distance runner would in a steeplechase.
Four games to the end of the 2016 Premier League season’s first half, Hearts lie top of the table, a point better than Wa All Stars (the northerners being one of only two teams that have beaten the Phobians in the league this season).

It isn’t for nothing. Hearts have delivered some breathtaking football and impressive results to go with it, a package that has wooed many hitherto disillusioned fans back into vociferous mode. The football, at its best, has been absolutely delicious — little

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Accra Hearts of Oak on a mission to conquer Africa

wonder it’s been likened to ‘sushi’, that tasty meal of Keni’s countrymen!

But while the terraces of the Accra Sports Stadium have swelled with increasing numbers when Hearts play at home, it’s the club’s form in away encounters that’s been more astounding. Of six games, Hearts have lost none, and their four wins have come in stunning fashion. Away to Medeama, Ashantigold and — just last Sunday — Berekum Chelsea, Hearts have picked rare wins in six, nine and eight years respectively. And, oh, there was that rousing comeback at Inter Allies which would linger ever so long in the memory!

Success in a league in which home advantage often counts for so much requires that a team nicks some extra points on the road, and Hearts have excelled by getting 14 of those thus far — twice as many as they’ve collected at their Accra base.

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Accra Hearts of Oak

Such feats are nothing if not a trait of a team on a mission. Hearts have been daring, thrilling and potent in equal measure, and it’s the blend of these traits that could see them overcome any obstacles that may yet come their way.
The season may still have some depressing moments in store for Hearts’ supporters — and they better brace themselves for it — but they can still look forward to even bigger gains. Hearts, whichever way you look at it, are this season’s team to beat. In the end, when they have something to show for all the mixed adventures, few would have cause to remember the bad times.

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