By Ameenu Shardow
I was initially very disappointed upon hearing the news Hearts of Oak have declined to take part in the novelty â€˜8â€™ competition of GHALCA.
However, my stance changed completey after getting more education from club officials and technical men on the reasons for Heartsâ€™ withdrawal.
First and foremost, I get the feeling this competition is being hurriedly organized considering the time limitation relative to the start of the next Premier League season on October 9.
The fact that this is the maiden edition means a lot of tactness and intense thorough planning should be implored but we all know where these traits tend to go when organization is under pressure.
Make no mistakes, I have absolute confidence in the people tasked with delivering the competition but I strongly believe the timing would not allow them to properly execute their mission to their high standards of competence.
One would ask why no team under this planet starts their pre-season with grueling encounters against the top teams in the previous season. It is simply because of the following reasons:
i) Pre-season activities are meant to improve general fitness and to tactically fine tune a team ahead of the new campaign.
ii) ToÂ avoid unnecessary injuries to especially key players before the season starts proper
iii) To check out new acquisitions and where best they fit into a team.
iv) In the cases of big clubs, to ensure expectations/disappoints is not heightened before the next campaign.
So in effect, all the aforementioned could be well dealt with in a pre-season tournament but not when playing crack sides like Berekum Chelsea, AshantiGold, Nania etc and especially when there is a trophy, pride and cash prize to fight for.
Could it be that the interim GHALCA Executives want the tournament to come off at all cost to prove a point as I am hearing?
That would be a very unfortunate stance but I don't believe in this rumour anyway considering the personalities involved with the event.
â€œWe received an official invitation from the organisers seeking our participation but we have also written back to them stating our official position that we cannot partake,â€ Hearts spokesperson Albert Commey told GBC radio, Sunyani.
â€œThe fact is that we have registered very new players who are very young and mostly inexperienced.
â€œSo we would want to have a very good pre-season training to get the boys in shape for the league so it will be very difficult to honour the invitation.â€
He added that: â€œWe have also realised that since there are eight clubs, there would be more matches to play than the usual Top 4.
â€œHearts of Oak is not in the best position to compete and I hope our fans understand our decision.â€
This absolutely makes a lot of sense in my opinion considering Hearts began their pre-season training just last week.
This position, GHANAsoccernet.com has been told, in not negotiable.
â€œNo pre-season can be started with a tournament considering the physical and psychological status of the players at the time,â€ ex Hearts coach Karim Zito told GHANAsoccernet.com.
â€œThe players might have put-on some weight considering they are under no guidance when released to go home in the off-season and are therefore not in a proper state for serious competitions
â€œThis might even lead to injuries since they have not been physically conditioned prior to the competition or might over-burn before the season starts.â€
One doesnâ€™t need to be a rocket scientist to know what the coach was saying is a real possibility with this novelty tournament.
How many of the teams knew before the season ended that there was going to be such a competition involving eight crack sides?
Otherwise they should have planned ahead and would have no excuses to opt out or perform poorly since this is not â€˜a smallâ€™ competition.
Fact is, out of the top 4 teams last season, only AshGold managed to keep their position on the just ended league. Where were the impressive winners of that pre-season event this season and the others?
Look, not having the competition this year in my candid opinion would serve more good than bad. It will offer my competent friemds on the organizing committee more time and hopefully more resources to come out with a better tournament next year.