Embattled Accra Hearts of Oak are likely to clash with arch rivals Kumasi Asante Kotoko in this year’s GHALCA Invitational tournament after it appeared organisers had ‘smuggled’ the Phobians into the competition reserved for the top six Premier League sides.
Hearts are languishing at the 13th position after the Appeals Committee of the Ghana Football Association upheld an appeal by Kotoko over a decision to dock six points from their accumulated points over the fielding of an unqualified player in their league clash in Accra last season.
The decision to maintain Hearts in the inaugural six-club competition, according to the vice chairman of GHALCA, Isaac Koomson, was in conformity with the new regulations of the competition which is now christened GHALCA Invitational tournament.
Explaining the new modalities to the Graphic Sports yesterday, Mr Koomson said the competition comprised the top four teams from the First Capital Plus Premier League, as well as the two finalists of the MTN FA Cup competition, and not a way to smuggle the Phobians into the tournament.
“But because Kotoko won their appeal, they have automatically moved to the top four category and Hearts, who played in the semifinals of the FA Cup, have been pushed to take over Kotoko’s slot in the FA Cup,” he said.
He said GHALCA factored the possible outcome of the ruling of the FA’s Appeals Committee before coming out with the competition such that any outcome of the ruling would still not derail their plans.
Mr Koomson added that the corganisers developed that plan in order not to go back to their sponsors with the view of altering their proposals, “because they won’t take us serious”.
Apart from abandoning the old Top 4 competition, the novel six-club tournament will come off at the Sekondi Stadium at Essipong in a format that would be disclosed later.