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Glorious Accra Hearts of Oak has chalked many
successes in African club football including winning the converted CAF
Champions League (2000) and the CAF Confederation Cup (2004) as well as the CAF
Super Cup in 2001.
Dawn memory lane, the club has also come close to
lifting the ultimate on a couple of occasions when we lost the African Club
Champions Cup in 1977 and 1979.
We begin a series of tracking our foray into the African
terrain beginning from the first journey back in the early 1970’s where the
team made a huge impact in our debut campaign making it all the way to the
First attempt 1972
Our first participation in the elite African club
competition was in 1972 and, this participation was secured after Hearts won
the 1971 league title in Ghana with 60 points. We scored 66 goals and conceded
27 and won 26 of the games from the 37 matches played in the 1971 season.
Hearts were drawn to face Abaluhya United later
renamed AFC Leopards of Kenya in the first round with the first leg encounter
scheduled to be played in Accra on February 13, 1972, with the return fixture
fixed for February 27, 1972, in Nairobi.
However, the Kenyan champions withdrew from the
competition before the first leg allowing Hearts to move to the next stage of
the competition when we came up against Western Nigeria Development Company
(WNDC, Ibadan) of Nigeria in the second round.
Second Round (1/8th Finals)
The first leg tie, (Hearts’ first-ever African club
game) was played on March 19, 1972, in Ibadan with WNDC, now Shooting Stars won
1-0 to take the advantage to into the return leg in Accra.
Our home debut in Africa was a memorable one as we turned
the scales to overcome the 0-1 deficit from the first leg. Hearts won 3-0 at
the Accra Sports Stadium on April 9, 1972, to qualify to the quarter-final stage
on a 3-1 aggregate.
At the quarter-final stage, Hearts came up against
Kwabe Warriors of Zambia and secured a place in the last four of the
competition after winning the two-legged encounter on an 8-4 aggregate.
The first leg encounter was played at the Accra
Sports Stadium on October 2, 1972, and, Hearts were emphatic 7-2 winners, a
result which all but confirmed our passage to the next round with the second
leg still to come.
On October 16, 1972, Hearts travelled to Lusaka for
the return encounter, and, lost 1-2 in the Zambian capital to qualify on an 8-4
aggregate win over the local champions.
This stage proved to be a little too much for a
Hearts side that was making its debut on the African scene and, it showed in
the end as we bowed out to Simba FC of Uganda in a very close contest losing
2-1 on aggregate after two legs.
Hearts hosted the first leg at the Accra Sports
Stadium on November 2, 1972, and drew 1-1 with the Ugandans in a very nervy encounter
making the return fixture quite a difficult task for the Phobians.
Simba FC who were and are still Uganda’s Army club, won
the second leg 1-0 in Kampala to win the tie 2-1 on aggregate to book a place
in the final where they lost a two-legged affair to Hafia Club of Guinea 7-4 on
Our maiden voyage in Africa thus ended at the semi-final
stage, but the lessons learnt would serve as a springboard on which we built