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4 THINGS THAT GRANT HAS DONE RIGHT AS HEARTS RETURN TO ACCRA

19th July 2019 and we will be counting a decade since Accra Hearts of Oak last won the Ghana Premier League trophy. In between, the club's major success arguably was making ¢2m from it's shares sale. Executive Board Chairman, Togbe Afede XIV has since suffered to get the club back to it's glory days. The Hearts of Oak that won 6 consecutive league titles including a historic one in 2002, when they amassed the highest ever league points (78) to win the league. 

The Club's decision to move for CEO, Mark Noonan in 2018 created a polarity amongst fans. A below par performance in the league as well as no recognized direction further angered a section of the fans. What about that double loss to Asante Kotoko? It remotedly caused the sack of interim Head Coach, Seth Hoffman as club captain, Fatawu Mohammed bemoaned the lack of quality in the playing staff with fans' fed up with his tactics. Hoffman served as an assistant until quite recently when he finally parted ways with the Rainbow family. 

Things were basically not dancing to the club's tune with prized assets Winful Cobbinah, Inusah Musah, Patrick Razak, Isaac Mensah and Samudeen Ibrahim all leaving the club. Thomas Abbey, Vincent Atinga, Kwame Kizzito had earlier on said their goodbyes. What was going to rekindle the "Phobian Spirit"? Not even the completion of the Pobiman training pitch. 

Noonan's decision to get the club a new logo coupled with the announcement of former Ghanaian international, Kim Grant as Director of Football and First Team Coach did some good. Kim Tyrone Grant has resigned from the First Team coach role with Ben Hanson taking over. The club was 3 days away from it's 107th anniversary and perhaps this could be the icing on the birthday cake. 

Some 15 games played so far under his tenure and we take a look at 4 major achievements of the former Charlton Athletic forward as Hearts returns to play at the Accra Sports Stadium. 


CATCHING UP WITH THE MODERN GAME 
Mark Noonan has been doing his best to get the club up there as CEO but it definitely was lacking since the technical front still looked years behind. The use of Pobiman training pitch (the club's first time of using their own training pitch) was all to savor as a fan. In comes Grant and some changes arrive. The introduction of ice bath sessions has led to the creation of a temporal swimming pool at the training grounds. Aside the vivid improvement in training materials, the invitation of former England defender, Titus Bramble to work with the club for a brief as a Defensive Coach scores an 'A'. His very role as Director of Football sums up the modernity, One to combine Technical Directorship with the Head Coach role. 

STRATEGIC SIGNINGS 
Grant has been modest and efficient with his signings. The modern game requires a football club to be ran like any other business venture and key to balancing your books is the expenditure of your technical team. He has brought in top quality players on the free. Goalkeeper, Richmond Ayi and centre back Mohammed Alhassan from WAFA are key signings to his game plan. Moves for Karela United's Dominic Eshun and Elmina Sharks' Charles McCarthy underlines his knowledge of the local game. Alhassan has played in 9 of the 15 friendlies, the most by any of the new boys. No big money signing but 13 wins in 15 outings is a remarkable feat to chalk. He looked to have the pieces to the puzzle. 

AN IDENTITY ON THE PITCH 
For all their tough play at the rear,  Hearts of Oak has produced some great attacking play with some notable names like Ishmael Addo, Charles Taylor, Bernard Don Bortey, Prince Tagoe, Louis Agyemang and Mahatma Otoo rolling off the tongue in the recent past. Rather mysteriously, the club has lost that fortune. 13 goals in 14 league games in the halted league season summed up their attacking play. In the said games, the Phobians managed to score more than one goal in only 2 games. Under Grant, the Accra based side has seen changes in their style of play. Slowly, the club seeks to control games having 56.2% as average possession in 11 of the 15 games. The use of ball playing center backs has ensured that the Phobians kick start their attacks from the rear. 213 shots at goal attempted in the 11 games with with 11 shots on target on the average recorded thus far. In all, 38 goals scored in 15 controlled games is reminiscent of the glory days. 

A SNEAK PEEK INTO THE FUTURE 
For a club known for it's ability to make the most of young talents, Hearts and Grant is a match made in Heaven. Grant has made signings which are sustainable for the development of the club. Manaf Gumah Jr, Mitchel Sarpong and Enock Addo have been promoted from the club's youth side with his other 5 signings having an average age of 22. This will be key to his energetic and constant pressing game. Manaf Gumah Jr has been magnificent thus far with McCarthy gradually gaining presence in the center of the pitch. Ayi and Alhassan's quality need no telling. Reinstated back as captain, he has used Fatawu as a right winger with Obeng Jnr regaining his confidence as an attacker from the left wing. 

Too early to shower praises and probably not so competitive a game he endured but he is watering the Oak tree. Hopefully, it grows. 
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