Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak are unarguably the two most glamorous clubs in the history of Ghana football. The sort of rivalry between them is one of the fiercest in the world of football and it dates as far back as the 1950s.
Over the years, football fanatics have held divergent opinions about which of these two great giants has the competitive edge over the other. The crux of the issue has always been “which of these two teams has the competitive superiority over the other?” This article, thus, seeks to finally solve the puzzle, which hitherto, was envisaged to continue to rage on unabated. In this piece, the teams are compared and contrasted on five thematic stakes viz continental achievements, domestic achievements, head-to-head (matches played), African Footballer of the Year Award winners produced, and fan base.
1. Continental Achievements
Overall, Asante Kotoko has made 38 appearances in CAF competitions since its inception – CAF Champions League (10), African Cup of Champions Clubs (16), CAF Confederation Cup (5), CAF Cup Winners’ Cup (7). Out of these 38 appearances, The Porcupine Warriors have made it to nine finals – African Cup of Champions Clubs/CAF Champions League (1967, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1982, 1983, 1993); CAF Cup Winners’ Cup (2002); CAF Confederation Cup (2004). Out of the nine final berths, Kotoko has won two continental trophies (i.e. African Cup of Champions Clubs/CAF Champions League, 1970; 1983). In the revised CAF ranking of African Clubs of the 20th Century, Asante Kotoko ranks fourth with 43 points. In February 2010, Asante Kotoko was awarded by the International Football Federation of History and Statistics (IFFHS) as Africa’s Club of the Century.
On the contrast, Hearts of Oak has made 27 outings in the continental competitions – African Cup of Champions Clubs (8), CAF Champions League (10), CAF Cup Winners’ Cup (5), CAF Cup (1), CAF Confederation Cup (1), CAF Super Cup (2). The Phobians have also made it to six finals in these continental competitions – African Cup of Champions Clubs/Champions League (1977, 1979, 2000), CAF Super Cup (2001, 2005), CAF Confederation Cup (2004). Out of these final appearances, Hearts has won three titles – CAF Champions League (2000), CAF Super Cup (2001) and CAF Confederation Cup (2004). In the revised CAF ranking of African Clubs of the 20th Century, Accra Hearts of Oak ranks ninth with 31 points. On February 12, 2001, in its weekly chart, CNN/World Soccer rated Hearts of Oak 8th best club in the world.
2. Domestic Achievements
On the domestic front, Kotoko has won 23 Ghana Premier League titles (highest in Ghana), 1 Normalization Committee Special Competition, 9 FA Cups, 3 Ghana Super Cups, 12 Ghana SWAG Cups (highest in Ghana), 3 Ghana Telecom Gala titles (highest in Ghana), 3 Ghana Top Four titles (highest in Ghana) and 6 Annual Republic Day Cups (highest in Ghana). In-toto. Thus, the Fabulous Club has won 60 domestic official trophies.
On the other hand, Hearts of Oak has won 20 Ghana Premier League titles, 10 FA Cups (highest in Ghana), 2 Ghana Super Cups, 7 Ghana SWAG Cups, 4 Ghana Telecom Gala tittles (highest in Ghana), 2 Ghana Top Four titles and 4 Annual Republic Day Cups. Thus, the Phobians have a total of 49 domestic official trophies.
3. Head-To-Head (Matches Played)
The two teams have locked horns competitively on a total of 121 official matches. Kotoko has won 40 times while Hearts of Oak has carried the day on 39 occasions, with the remaining 42 matches ending in draws. Their most recent meeting was in a Ghana Premier League match played on the 26th of January, 2020 in which Kotoko beat Hearts by two goals to one.
4. African Footballer of the Year Award Winners Produced
The highest accolade a football player on the African continent can achieve is the African Footballer of the Year Award. Here, the aim is to compare how both teams have fared vis-à-vis producing players to vie for this prestigious accolade.
Asante Kotoko has produced two African Footballer of the Year Award winners – Ibrahim Sunday (1971) and Karim Abdul Razak (1978). Also, the Fabulous club has produced two runners-up in the race to the African Footballer of the Year Award – Robert Mensah (1971) and Opoku Nti (1983).
Conversely, the Phobians have not produced any African Footballer of the Year Award winner. However, it has produced one runner-up in the race to this highly coveted award – Adolf Armah (1979).
The fact that the two great footballing giants have the highest following in Ghana football cannot be gainsaid. Here, the bone of contention is to compare the two clubs and see which of them is greater on the basis of club following.
In a recent survey conducted by African Sports Centre for Data, Research and Technology in December 2019, the Porcupines was found to have the largest fan base in Ghana. According to the survey, 41 per cent of respondents declared their support for Asante Kotoko, with 27 per cent declaring their support for their archrivals, Hearts of Oak. 20 per cent declared their support for Ashanti Gold SC, 5 per cent for the rest of the clubs, with the remaining 7 per cent indifferent.
Against the backdrop of the foregoing, the unavoidable conclusion is that Asante Kotoko reigns superior to Hearts of Oak in terms of continental achievements, domestic achievements, head-to-head (matches played), African Footballer of the Year Award winners produced, and fan base.