All is set for a piece of history to be made when the final whistle is blown by experienced FIFA referee Daniel Laryea. Both Accra Hearts of Oak will make history by virtue of their appearance in the competition’s final this season but who wins the ultimate and inches its name on the trophy?
Accra Hearts of Oak have been in a devastating form that has catapulted them to the pinnacle of the league this season, granting them their 21st league title and three closer to record winners, Asante Kotoko. That imperious form has seen them lose only seven matches in the course of the league season while conceding just 23 goals from 34 matches and only bettered in that regard by Kotoko (22).
Their form in the league extended to the cup competition where they defeated all their opponents from the round of 64 through to the last victim of their merciless assault, Medeama SC in the semi-finals. They have scored a total of 12 goals in the competition this season while conceding only 1 against Windy Professionals in the round of 32 stages. That should be a sign of hope for the Phobians who have been rejuvenated into an unbeatable side under former Medeama tactician, Samuel Boadu.
Ashanti Gold on the other hand performed below their standard in the league but nonetheless ended the season as the most prolific side in the league with an astonishing 50 goals in the 34 matches. With four more defeats than the Phobians and two extra draws as compared to the Phobians, it meant they ended up in mid-table.
In the cup, the Miners were a different class except that they carried their high-scoring there too. They scored a staggering 15 goals in 5 matches but shockingly conceded six goals; a ratio of 1.2 per match. They progressed with each passing match, settling for a 0 – 1 victory in their first outing in the competition, they made it 1 – 2 in the next, 4 – 2 in the round of 16 and 4 – 2 in the quarter-final. They then tossed Chelsea aside in blistering fashion in under 30 minutes of extra time to end the match 4 – 1 after a 1 – 1 stalemate in regulation time.
Their high scoring form especially in the competition would be a source of worry for the league champions but their porous defence would be a weak point that would be well exploited by the all-scoring Hearts of Oak attack. As to whether the Phobians defence can withstand the league and cup top-scoring side with their mean backline is another point to note.
Both sides will be playing for honours and the money as there is no extra motivation of going to Africa in this tie for the two sides with the league champions the only one among the two eligible to play in Africa next season. They however are set to play in the top-tier of CAFs inter-club competition, the Champions League. The Miners regardless of the outcome of the results were guaranteed a place in the Confederations Cup next season but a failure to submit their application to play in Africa in accordance with CAFs new regulations means they will sit out.
Medeama and Kotoko are the only two other Ghanaian sides eligible to play in Africa but the former has indicated its intention not to play in Africa since there would be no sporting merit in their participation.
Whatever and however it ends at Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday evening, either of Accra Hearts of Oak or Ashanti Gold would be crowned MTN FA Cup champions’ the Phobians, their 11th and first since 2000, an extended record and should it be the Miners, their second and first since 1993. Their appearance in this season’s competition is Hearts of Oak 20th appearance in the competition’s history, a record. The closest to them is Asante Kotoko with 12 final appearances. The Miners will be making their 4th appearance in the finals of the competition.