Who'll Kiss The Cup
Graphic -- CAF Champions League dropouts, Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko, have joined forces to demand a bigger purse rather than points, relegating Sunday's pitch battle in their 2004 league decider to the background. Ahead of the clash in Accra, and the secret desire by each to kiss the Cup, the two giants have issued a joint statement calling on the authorities to top up their earnings from the game to make up for the loss of having a one-off decider. “The one-off decider is a potential loss of revenue to the two clubs,” the statement signed by Thomas Okine and Major Yaw Larson (retd), Chief Executives of Hearts and Kotoko respectively, said. “Your proposal of 60 per cent (share of gate proceeds) for the clubs is woefully inadequate as compared to a two-legged situation where the home team is assured of 75 per cent net share of proceeds,” the statement said. Proposing a 35 per cent share for each side from a game that will attract ¢100,000 at the VIP Stand, ¢80,000 at the Wings, ¢50,000 at the Upper Terrace, ¢40,000 at the Osu and May 9 Stands and ¢20,000 at the Popular Stand, the two teams forged close ties that underline preparations that have preceded Sunday's game. And when the game takes place, both sides will be counting on the impact of the absence of the one man who has caused joy or pain to the respective teams. Coach Jones Attuquayefio, who has crafted Hearts' most memorable results against Kotoko, has left the club three days before the team lines up against Kotoko in what will be their only meeting in a league game in the season. In leading Hearts to a quardruple of titles in 2000, Jones guided the team to beat Kotoko 4-0 — the biggest score margin between the two sides — in a league game in Accra, and although Hearts' success in the inaugural CAF Confederation Cup was less spectacular, it came at the expense of Kotoko via a penalty victory. Such is the character who will be missing from the Hearts bench on Sunday. And although Hearts enter the game under the technical instructions of Jones' two assistants, Sampson Lamptey and Achibald Lamptey, the brain of the main man will be lacking.
Their counterpart in Kotoko, Malik Jabir, has enjoyed a smooth workout with his side which, though has been depleted by the departure of Stephen Oduro, Charles Taylor, Frank Osei, and now a conflict with Joe Hendricks and goalkeeper George Owu, as well as the banned Nana Arhin Duah. Separately, Hearts' headache over the elusive Louis Agyemang sums up their weakened strength in the wake of the absence of Emmanuel Osei Kuffour and the indisposition of Dan Quaye and Lawrence Adjei. As the closing game for the 2004 season, the organisers say only players registered for last year will be eligible to play.