Hearts of Oak rejects President’s offer
The sporting world is known for controversies and surprises, but one doesn't quiet know of what to make of the attitude of the Accra Hearts of Oak regarding the offer of a gift of a bus from the President as a reward- for the club winning the coveted 2004 Confederation Cup.
As reported in the July 8 issue of the Graphic Sports newspaper the government has offered the club a choice of either a 30-seater Toyota Coaster bus or a 45-seater Tata bus. However Hearts were allegedly adamant that they prefer a Marco Polo bus.
This led to what the paper describes as a stalemate and the presentation ceremony has not been held.
The paper reports that “ By a letter to (the Minister of Education and Sports) dated June10, Hearts Chief Executive, Mr Okine explained that the Tata bus would serve little purpose for a club always travelling across the country for league matches and other games.
Further more the paper quotes deputy sports minister, O.B Amoah as saying that “they have also to show interest in the Toyota bus too,” Mr Amoah said further that the kind of bus prefer would cost almost double the $65,758 price of the Toyota.
The paper explains that Hearts' own 54-seater bus is currently under rehabilitation and the team has thus been relying on hired buses and an older, smaller bus.
At the time of going to press no word has come to indicate that the club has changed its position so that means they are still insisting that they should be give Marco Polo.
The issue generates some questions: Did the President or the government offer the gift of a bus or was it specified that it would be a bus of the club's choice? Was there any understanding that the club was to be given a luxury bus or a Marco Polo.
Our view is that if the answer to the questions is yes, then the government should be sporting enough to honour its promise t the club.
On the other hand if the answer to the above is No, the Hearts of Oak should accept the gift gracefully and end what in our view is an embarrassing stalemate. Embarassing for Hearts, not the government.
We are moved to comment on this issue because it has other national dimensions. If the government gives in to Hearts demand, it will be able to sustain the precedent will it be setting?
We can foresee a situation where from now on any group or community promised any kind of assistance or development project will feel free to reject what is being offered and demand it sown preference.
If Hearts are now making do with non-luxury transport which it is paying for, why reject a brand new bus which is being offered as a gift: free of charge?
Why can't the club accept what the government is offering and use it until the club can afford the kind of luxury bus it is yearning for? Even if the club feels it deserves Marco Polo or that type of bus, surely it is not the responsibility of the President or the government to provide that.
It is surprising that the club's management has allowed this to degenerate into what it is being described as ' stalemate'.
We urge Hearts of Oak to accept the bus the President is offering. As the saying goes about gifts it is the thought that counts and they need to demonstrate appreciation of the government's generosity- and the thought behind the gift.
Besides, accepting the bus graciously without question and without condition would be the sporting thing to do.