THE BIG ONE: Hearts & Olympics Clash Again, and It’s About More than Just Pride This Time
The last time Accra Hearts of Oak and Accra Great Olympics met in the Ghana Premier League (earlier this season), the former were lying mid-table and badly out of form, while the latter flew high.
Olympics won that game 2-0, thanks to two well-taken goals from Gladson Awako and Maxwell Abbey Quaye which capped off a dominant performance by the Dade Boys.
Seventeen weeks later, though, a lot has changed about both teams.
Hearts, especially, aren’t quite the same side. Under new head coach Samuel Boadu, they’ve blossomed into the most in-form team in the land and are currently on a six-game winning streak.
Five of those victories, coming in the league, have propelled the Phobians to the top of the table and kept them there with a two-point lead over bitter rivals Asante Kotoko.
Olympics, in third, are three more points behind. They have been limping in recent weeks but are still unbeaten in their last three matches in all competitions, and Annor Walker’s charges would also draw inspiration from their impressive record against other sides in the league table’s upper half.
WAFA, Medeama, Dreams, Kotoko, Legon Cities and Hearts themselves have already been beaten once each by Olympics this season, and the prospect of securing a double over Sunday’s opponents — for the first time in a long while — would provide extra motivation ahead of the latest Mantsɛ Derby match.
Olympics, indeed, have the greater incentive to win, as losing further ground would really blur their visions of glory. For Hearts, one more victory should see them consolidate their grip on top spot and — depending on the outcome of Kotoko’s own derby game with Ashanti Gold — afford them some more breathing space.
This fixture has never lacked spice, traditionally, and the fact that the latest instalment feeds so sweetly into the narrative of the title race only serves extra toppings.