Awako Returns, But He Won’t Answer All of Hearts’ Questions
At a time when Accra Hearts of Oak desperately seek some good cheer, the club has received news that would gladden the heart of many of a Phobian persuasion.
Three months after signing for Hearts, Gladson Awako has finally come around to playing for the side following a lengthy delay that threatened to create bad blood between player and club. All of that is now water under the bridge, however, after Awako issued an apology earlier this week and was promptly welcomed back into the Hearts fold.
Fans of the capital outfit, quite understandably, will find Awako’s return exciting. He was, depending on who you asked, the best player in the top-flight last season, starring for Accra Great Olympics, Hearts’ city rivals.
If there was anyone in the league who could genuinely improve a Hearts team that ended the season as Ghana Premier League and FA Cup kings, it was Awako — vastly experienced, a former U-20 world champion, and a winner of each of Africa’s major pieces of inter-club silverware — and Hearts, in recognition of his value, committed a fortune to making the deal happen.
For a while, though, it didn’t seem as though Awako — for reasons best known to himself — was committed to life at Hearts. Now, though, he is back, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time. Hearts have had a torrid start to the season, having been knocked out of the CAF Champions League and not doing a great job of their league title defence thus far. Samuel Boadu’s team has failed to win any of its first four games, leaving Hearts in the relegation zone.
For a club operating under so dark a cloud, then, it’s not too hard to see why Awako’s presence feels like a silver lining at the moment. That a player of Awako’s pedigree wields the ability to help catalyse a reversal of Hearts’ fortunes can’t be debated; what isn’t nearly as airtight is any suggestion that Awako holds the key to such a revival.
To believe that he does is to oversimplify the issues that have sunk Hearts to their knees, few of which have anything to do with what Awako brings to the table. Even without the 30-year-old — an expert in the use of guile and intelligence to unlock opposition defences — Hearts haven’t exactly laboured in creating chances.
More than anything else, it is their inability to finish off all those chances, and a struggle to reduce/eliminate porosity at the other end of the pitch, that has let them down far too often this term. And there is very little Awako can do about any of those problems, to which Boadu would have to find other solutions as Hearts seek to get their domestic and continental campaigns back on track.