Today in history: Hearts ranked 8th best in the world
On 12TH February, 2001 Accra Hearts of Oak reached its peak, when CNN/World Soccer rated them the 8th best club in its weekly chart, rubbing shoulders with giants such as Real Madrid.
This happened a day after the club had beaten Zamalek of Egypt by 2-0 to win the only Super Cup by a Ghanaian side at the Kumasi Sports Stadium
Below is a list of the top 10 clubs announced by CNN/World Soccer
Rank Team Country Points
(1 As Roma Italy 90pts
(2) Boca Juniors Argentina 89 pts
(3) Real Madrid Spain 83 pts
(4) Manchester Utd England 81pts
(5) Bayern Munich Germany 60 pts
(6) Deportivo La Coruna Spain 53 pts
(7) Vasco da Gama Brazil 48 pts
(8) Hearts of Oak Ghana 26 pts
(9) Arsenal England 25 pts
(10) Lazio Italy 22 pts
The road to this unprecedented feat by a Ghanaian club
The journey to this great feat began in March when Hearts of Oak knocked out Horoya AC of Guinea 4-3 on aggregate, before piping DC Motema Pembe of DR Congo 4-3 on aggregate in the second round to reach the CAF Champions' League group stage/money zone.
They were drawn in group 'B' with the likes of Lobi Stars, El Ahly, Jeanne d'Arc.
The Continental Club Masters scored a late minute goal through Emmanuel Donkor in their maiden champions' league group game against El Ahly in Accra. The North African giant took the lead before Hearts of Oak fought from behind to win the game by 2-1.
They matched on with two successive away victories against Jeanne d'Arc in Senegal. A game Ishmael Addo scored a hat-trick, the first away hat-trick in the competition's history, before dismissing Lobi Stars 2-0 in Nigeria, to complete the first round of the group games.
They started the second half of the group stage by beating Lobi Stars 2-0 in the return fixture, before settling for a one all in Egypt against Ahly and finished off at home with a one all against Jeanne d'Arc.
The competition at that time had no room for semi finals, so the winner of group 'A' Esperance booked a date with Hearts of Oak the winner of group 'B'.
The Ghanaian side went unbeaten in the group stage, which was the first time a club, did so.
The first leg was played on 2nd December, 2000 in Tunis.
Esperance 1-2 Hearts of Oak
Hearts of Oak beat Esperance at their own backyard with 10 men, after Amankwa Mireku was sent off in the 63rd minute. The Tunisian side drew the first blood in the 36th minute, before Ishmael Addo and Osei Kuffour's 52nd and 79th minute goals respectively overturned the score line in favour of the Phobians.
The 2nd leg was played on 17th December, 2000
Hearts of Oak 3-1 Esperance
Hassen Gabsi's 12 minute goal shook the Accra Sports Stadium, but three late goals from the feet of Osei Kuffour, who scored two goals in the 83rd and 89th minutes and Ishmael Addo in the 90th minute won the Champions League for the Phobians. The game was almost marred by the teargas incident and Chokri El Ouaer's drama, which eventually led to a year ban for Hearts of Oak at the Accra Sports Stadium for continental assignments and a ban for the Tunisian goalkeeper for causing injury to himself.
Hearts of Oak therefore became the true Continental Club Masters, a term coined by Tommy Thompson, the chairman for Hearts of Oak in the 70's. He did that to propel the club in winning the Champion' Cup, unfortunately they lost in their two finals, 1977 and 1979 under his watch, but it was on this day that his vision came to pass.
Hearts of Oak's team for the first leg: 1-Sammy Adjei; 6-Yaw Amankwah Mireku, 5-Jacob Nettey, 15-Agyeman Duah; 17-Stephen Tetteh, 14-Joe Ansah, 12-Charles Allotey (2-Daniel Ziem Quaye 76), 9-Adjah Tetteh, 3-Emmanuel Osei Kuffour,18-Ishmael Addo (10-Emmanuel Adjogu 59),8-Charles Taylor (4-Edmund Copson 71)]
The Hearts' squad for the second leg: 1-Sammy Adjei; 6-Dan Quaye, 5-Jacob Nettey, 15-Edward Agyeman-Duah, 17-Stephen Tetteh, 14-Joe Ansah, 12-Charles Allotey (10-Emmanuel Adjogu 46), 9-Adjah Tetteh (4-Edmond Copson 67), 18-Ishmael Addo, 3-Emmanuel Osei Kuffour, 8-Charles Taylor (13-Osmanu Amadu 73)
Emmanuel Osei Kuffour emerged as the top scorer in the Champion's League.
Note: CAF smashed away a protest by Esperance against Hearts of Oak for violent conduct.
11th February, 2001
Venue: Kumasi Sports Stadium
Hearts of Oak 2-0 Zamalek
They scored in both halves through Charles Taylor and Osei Kuffour to clinch the Super Cup.