Hearts of Oak line-up
Hearts of Oak will face Malian side AC Djoliba on this Friday in their 1/16th stage of the CAF Confederation Cup at the Stade 26 Mars in Bamako.
The Phobians are at the penultimate stage of the competition having eliminated AS Police and Olympique Ngor in the previous rounds respectively.
AC Djoliba eliminated Egyptian side Petrojet in the previous round, winning 2-1 at home and fighting for a goalless draw game in Egypt in the return league.
The Malian giants were knocked out of the Confederation Cup by arch-rivals Real Bamako last year in the ultimate qualifying stage, and they will be going all out to make it to the Group Stage of the competition this year.
However, History is against the Malians, who have lost on all the occasions they have faced Hearts in Africa Club competitions.
They were defeated 2-1 on aggregate when they met Hearts in the second round of the Africa Club Champions Cup qualifier in 1980 after holding the Phobians to a scoreless game in Bamako.
The two sides met again in 1998, but again after holding Hearts to a goalless draw game in Mali, Joe Fameyeh netted in Accra to send Hearts to the group stages of the African Champions League.
Coach Herbert Addo believes his boys, after tasting the feel of a continental triumph on the road, will look to go one better again by finishing the job in Mali.
“If you are working with people who are not determined and not prepared to win, then you are wasting your time,” coach Addo said.
“But my boys have tasted victory – about five of them had never sat in planes before but they have tasted the air, enjoyed it; and tasted a few dollars and have enjoyed it more. So they want more dollars, more air and more playing time. I think they are determined and I wish the supporters could come there and see how we are going to go there. The boys have got a lot of confidence and we are going there [Mali] to win.”
AC Djoliba are placed sixth in the 12-match-old Mali Premier League with 20 points. They have won six, drawn two, and lost four times in the new season. But they have won four out of six games at home and drawn and lost the other.
Hearts are also struggling in the league, but have turned a corner with three consecutive home wins, despite a defeat to Inter Allies on either side of the wins.
Herbert Addo’s side have been hard to beat on the road in the CAF Confederation Cup, having won heroically in Senegal and drawn in Benin in the competition. They will be hoping to keep in touch their invincibility on the road when they met Djoliba on Friday.
Coach Addo has not got fond memories in Mali, having led Hearts to a 3-1 defeat to Stade de Malien in 2002. The veteran coach has a perfect opportunity to set things right, by snatching a win for the team in Bamako.
MATCH FACTS: Hearts have met Malian sides 10 in Africa Club competitions. Hearts have triumphed five times, drawn 4 times, and lost once in 10 games against Malian oppositions. They have also failed to progress on only one occasion against Malian sides. In Mali, the Phobians have lost only once in five trips, won once and drawn thrice.
1980 AC DJOLIBA 1 – 1 HEARTS [second round Africa Club Champions Cup]
1990 REAL BAMAKO 1 – 2 HEARTS [first round Cup Winners Cup]
1998 AC DJOLIBA 0 – 0 HEARTS [first round Africa Champions League]
2002 STADE MALIEN 3 – 1 HEARTS [first round Africa Champions League]
2004 STADE MALIEN 0 – 0 HEARTS [first round Africa Champions League]
2015 AC DJOLIBA ? – ? HEARTS [1/16th Confederation Cup]