Embattled Hearts of Oak coach, Kosta Papic’s frosty relationship with the league leaders finally snapped under the weight of criticism yesterday after the club decided to fire him.
The decision, a fallout from Hearts’ 0-1 loss to a nine-man King Faisal side at the Baba Yara Stadium last Wednesday opens another chapter in Hearts’ bid to win the Glo Premier League Cup this year.
According to a well-placed source in Hearts, the Serbian was due to be handed his sacking letter yesterday afternoon.
The latest development was preceded by a near brawl in the dressing room of the Baba Yara Stadium Wednesday when officials of Hearts engaged beleaguered coach Kosta Papic in a heated verbal war over his poor delivery.
It was in the aftermath of the crushing 1-0 defeat to a nine-man King Faisal in a Glo Premier match, and Hearts officials, including Frank Nelson and Nii Ayibonte, asked the embattled Serbian to resign in the dressing room before he was booted out of office.
Papic ignored them but gave indications to take a decision when he got to Accra, saying he was tired of the bashing.
Unable to contain the pressure on him, Papic and Hearts officials traded harsh words, with tempers reaching boiling point. And as the combatants left the dressing room, Hearts officials also signalled their resolve to give him the sack today.
As they collided in the dressing room, angry supporters of the club waited outside, calling for the dismissal of the coach.
Chanting war songs, the disappointed supporters called for the appointment of a coach who could open the magical curtain for the team to return to its glorious days.
It was not only Papic who was at the receiving end of the suffering supporters. Management and players also had their share as they were hooted at while they boarded their vehicles back to Accra.
The Serbian, whose arrival at Hearts less than a year ago was touted as one of the best things to happen to Ghana’s oldest existing club, had turned the destroyer of Hearts unable to devise the strategy to outdo under-strength King Faisal.
Losing three times on the trot all, to Ashanti-based sides, was something unusual of Hearts and the management had reason to question Papic’s ability to deliver, especially as the league still has some long way to go.
The coach seemed to have lost the enthusiasm for his job and can barely find the antidote to lead a Hearts team that had looked so promising in the first round of the league.
Quite characteristic of him, Papic blamed his players for refusing to play to instructions when indeed everything pointed to the fact that he was bereft of ideas.
“My players were disappointing. They were not ready to stick to the game plan and I am surprised at their behaviour on the field, “ he said after the match.
Hearts were a sorry sight before Faisal last Sunday. The team appeared tattered, with the players unable to run, shoot and pass well.
They were an apology of a team leading the premier league, and for once it dawned on Hearts that the league is far from won. Surely they may have come to the realisation that only an improved performance can see them maintain their leadership.
Faisal were a magical lot, dancing around the numerically superior Hearts who went about kicking anyhow. When they were reduced to nine men, their bench varied their tactics, playing only Eric Poku upfront, with Samad Oppong, Bashiru Osman and Thomas Avorgbedor maintaining a strong showing in the middle, while defenders Eric Agyemang, Kwadwo Boateng, Daniel Addo and Awudu Nafiu cut out Hearts at the back.
The Hearts attack of Eric Gawu, Samuel Affum were nothing to write home about, and indeed only midfielder Francis Bossman showed some seriousness in the entire team.