ACCRA Hearts of Oak's 1-3 drubbing last Sunday by Asante Kotoko was least expected and too painful to bear. It reverberated through the team to such an extent that some club officials and some supporters began questioning the loyalty of their players who, they believed, had been compromised by their rivals to play it soft.
The Phobians had become used to victories, especially on account of their two recent wins over Kotoko, that they were not ready to accept that last Sunday's loss was an ordinary setback. As they engaged in the usual blame game, some fans and club officials allegedly pointed accusing fingers at goalkeeper Sammy Adjei who they suspected had been bribed.
Even though none of his accusers confronted him with the allegation, the distraught goalie told the Graphic Sports that it was on the team's arrival in Accra after the match that he received a number of phone calls from friends who told him they had heard some officials accusing him of bribery.
In fact, some Hearts management officials who spoke with the Graphic Sports on condition of anonymity held on to the conspiracy theory without providing evidence to support their claim.
An official told this paper that prior to the match they received information from some Hearts fans in Kumasi that Kotoko had infiltrated the Phobian camp, but since they had no supporting evidence they did not confront the accused, and the result only confirmed their worst fears.
For Sammy Adjei, last Sunday's defeat was a harrowing experience, but the allegation of bribery was more nightmarish and a stain on his loyalty and integrity.
“When I kept my clean sheets and things were rosy, it was fine with them, but as bad losers they were just only looking for scapegoats. We had a bad day and must be good sportsmen because we have had good results against Kotoko and must therefore look at how we can bounce back and get to winning ways,” goalkeeper Adjei said.
“There was a time that I conceded five goals in an away match and later conceded three, but never have I compromised my integrity. It was a bad day for us, period!”
Kotoko officials would have none of the conspiracy theory. An elated midfielder, Yusif Chibash, told reporters that the team was determined to reverse their recent setbacks and resolved to give Hearts “a taste of their own medicine”.