Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club, commonly referred to as Hearts of Oak or just Hearts, is a professional sports club based in Accra (Greater Accra), Ghana. Founded in 1911, the club is the oldest surviving football club in Ghana and its traditional colours are red, yellow and blue. Hearts of Oak competes in the Ghana Premier League, the premier division on the Ghanaian football pyramid. The Accra Sports Stadium is the club’s home grounds, where it plays its home games. Hearts has won the Premier League twenty-one times, the Ghanaian FA Cup a record eleven times, the Ghana Super Cup, a joint record three times the President’s Cup four times,and the CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederations Cup once each. Accra Hearts of Oak was also ranked eighth football club in the world in the year 2000 when the club dominated most of the continent’s sporting activities. Accra Hearts of Oak remains the only football club in West Africa to have won a Continental Treble. During the colonial period, Hearts of Oak won a combined total of 8 football league trophies in the Accra Football League and the Gold Coast Club Competition, both precursors to the Ghana Premier League. In the Accra Football League, Hearts of Oak won the Guggisberg Shield donated by Sir Gordon Guggisberg, Governor of the Gold Coast in 1922; the competition for Accra-based clubs was played on 12 occasions between 1922 and 1954; Hearts of Oak won the Shield 6 times, including the final tournament played in 1954.
The club was founded on 11 November 1911 in Accra. Hearts of Oak won their first major match in 1922 when Sir Gordon Guggisberg, then Governor of the Gold Coast, founded the Accra Football League. Hearts won 6 out of 12 seasons in this league. The club also won the 1953/54 edition of the Gold Coast Club Competition – the colonial precursor to the Ghana Premier League. In 1956, Hearts joined the Ghanaian Football League and have flourished ever since.
In the year 2000, Hearts of Oak won the Ghanaian FA cup, the Ghana Premier League and for the first time in their history the CAF Champions League. This was the most successful year in the club’s history. The team was led by club Joseph Ansah.
Main article: Accra Sports Stadium disaster
On May 9, 2001, 127 people died in Africa’s worst footballing disaster. During a match between rivals, Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko. Trouble started when supporters of Asante Kotoko began ripping out seats in an act of hooliganism in protest at a goal allowed by the referee. The match was officiated by referee J.Wilson Sey, from Cape Coast. Police reacted by firing tear gas into the crowd, it has been suggested that this was an over-reaction. Reports suggest that the gates to the ground were locked and the stadium was not up to FIFA standards. The rush to escape the tear gas was a contributory factor to the death toll. A commission inquiry, indicted six police officers in its initial report, but they were not convicted as it was deemed that the deaths could have been caused by the stampede instead of the tear gas.