On this day 15 March 2000 (Exactly 19 years ago) Defending champions, Accra Hearts of Oak went on rampage and demolished their bitterest rivals, Kumasi Asante Kotoko 4-0 in their titanic league match at the Accra Stadium.
It was a sweet revenge for Hearts who had to endure a painful 20-year wait for this opportunity to avenge a 3-0 spanking they received at the hands of Kotoko in a league match at the Accra Stadium in 1980. The defeat was the heaviest for Kotoko since their 5-0 loss to Dwarfs in 1969.
In the centre of all the pain for the losers and the sweet revenge for the winners, were the two players who have added some bitterness to the Hearts-Kotoko rivalry, Charles Taylor, who played a crucial role in all the goals scored as well as Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour who put the icing on the Phobians’ cake.
And there was Ishmael Addo, the 1999 goal-king who had already taken the lead with three goals in just two matches in the race, scoring two of the four goals in the demolition exercise. He, however could not last the entire game as he pulled an injury and was substituted just at the start of the second half.
Before the referee’s whistle could go for the start of this titanic clash, the battle lines had already been drawn with Hearts war cry being revenge for the 0-1 loss to the same side for the JOT Agyeman Cup. And there could not have been any sweeter revenge as Hearts did not only win, but clearly showed superiority and class over a side that have invested in recruiting some of the talented players for the season.
Though they started off well, it was not until the 24th minute that the Phobia boys drew their first blood with a beautiful header from Ishmael Addo who connected home from a cross.
Seven minutes later, Hearts took a commanding 2-0 lead when goalkeeper Oscar Asamoah, misjudging that the ball had gone over the bar, allowed a picturesque flick from an acute right angle from Addo to slip through his hands.
Hard as Kotoko tried to pull even, they could not put the Hearts defence to any serious threat as they proved too experienced and compact-knitted for the likes of Shilla Alhassan, Shamo Abbey, Godwin Ablordey and Lawrence Adjei.
In the second half, Kotoko almost pulled one back but they failed to make good use of the chances that fell their way.
In no time, Hearts took over the game again and increased their tally to three in the 52nd minute when Kenneth Sarpong finished off a non-drop half volley from a freekick taken by Charles Taylor.
Indeed, but for the good work of Michael “Mark Fish” Ofori who sometimes seemed too rough at the rear as well as over-elaboration on the part of the Phobians, the scoreline could have been worse for the visitors.
It was simply a bad day for Kotoko as they watched their every move thwarted or their chances going wayward. And as if their poor show was not painful enough, Felix Yeboah was sent off for the second bookable offence after he had stamped into the hip of Emmanuel Adjogu who came on for Addo.
By the 76th minute, it had become obvious that no matter how hard they tried, Kotoko were fighting a losing battle as their fans started trooping out in disappointment.
Whatever pride Kotoko had left was dented in the 84th minute when Osei Kuffour scored one of the most cheeky goals in any game. After beating three men on the trot, he had goalkeeper Asamoah to beat and he did so cleverly as the goalie, perhaps, thinking that Kuffour was offside, failed to stop the ball which rolled past him. Kuffour had a last man to beat in the Kotoko post and he did it so beautifully by just tapping the ball in to seal a revenge that had taken two decades in coming.
On this day 15 March 2002 (Exactly 17 years ago) Egyptian giants Al Ahly beat Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa 4-1 to win the 2001 CAF Super Cup in Cairo.
Al Ahly :Khaled Bebo 7, Hossam Ghaly 30, Essam al-Hadary 65, Said Abdelhafiz 69;
Kaizer Chiefs :Cyril Nzama 20
On this day 15 March 1998 (Exactly 21 years ago) CAF Cup Winners Champions Etiole du Sahel (Tunisia) beat inaugural CAF Champions League winners Raja Casablanca (Morocco) 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw (after extra time) in Casablanca to claim the 1997 CAF Super Cup.
Etoile :Dirk 45, Ben Younès 52
Raja :Nazi 69, Londo 82
On this day 15 March 1985 (Exactly 34 years ago) Larry Holmes TKOs David Bey in round 10 for heavyweight boxing title
Location: Riviera Hotel & Casino, Outdoor Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Referee: Carlos Padilla
Judge: Harold Lederman 87-82
Judge: Dalby Shirley 88-81
Judge: Tom McDonough 87-82
International Boxing Federation Heavyweight Title (2nd defense by Holmes)
By George ‘Alan Green’ Mahamah