4 Things Kim Grant Must Do To Turn Hearts of Oak Into Champions Featured
19 Nov

4 Things Kim Grant Must Do To Turn Hearts of Oak Into Champions

Kim Grant was recently unveiled as the new manager of Accra Hearts of Oak replacing Henry Wellington. Under Wellington’s stewardship, the Phobians never saw a blueprint developed and established.
 
What quickly became evident, even for those who deemed his appointment as a necessary evil following poor results on the pitch, is the extent to which considerable frustration set in on the terraces as he was unable to progress Hearts stylistically.
 
The problem still persists as caretaker coach Seth Hoffman has failed to improve matters at the club. The arrival of Kim Grant who is known for his predilection for expansive attacking football marks a major departure from his predecessor Henry Wellington, whose turgid football and bizarre tactical decisions was the reason he wasn’t in the good books of the fans.
 
Kim Grant does not boast of a rich managerial history and the thus the Phobians need to show patience, but in the modern game, no manager can survive without a quick start. 
 
Here are four things Grant must do to hit the ground running.
 
Field players in their best – or at least correct – positions
 
There are many reasons why Wellington’s tenure felt aimless and many strange tactical decisions that suggest he was out of ideas, but chief among them was his odd team selections. 
 
This first point should be easy enough to fix: Grant must avoid the pitfall of putting square pegs in round holes, and no more shoving as many forwards onto the pitch as possible.
 
Hearts need basic organisation and a clear strategy, something that Grant will surely work towards. His Dwarfs and Elmina Sharks teams were consistent in playing short-passing aesthetic football.
 
Put Abdul Manaf Gumah at centre stage
 
The teenager is a very special talent, the sort that every manager should build his team around. Gumah loves to dictate the tempo of the match in a free role, roaming deep to collect possession and driving the team forward with his clever one-twos and mazy dribbles.
 
It is best not to try to contain him, but rather organise his team-mates around him. In theory, Grant’s expansive football – centering on high-tempo interchanges and domination of the ball – is perfectly suited to get the best out of Gumah.
 
Preach patience and lower the club’s expectations
 
The majority shareholder of the club, Togbe Afede has thrown money at the problem with a petulance and impatience reflecting the club’s disbelief at its own ‘giant’ status.
 
This short-termism has led to extraordinary amounts of waste, a lopsided squad based on the disparate visions of several managers, and a sense that Hearts are on the brink of sliding into deeper trouble.
 
That cycle has to end now. An important part of Grants’s job will be in interviews and press conferences, in which he must highlight the need for patience as he embarks on this new project.
 
It will take time for his ideas to take hold, but it will be worth it: hope of a short spike of form is a deeply flawed plan.
The Hearts fans and the board need to give Kim Grant time to rebuild the club organically. 
 
As head coach, Grant’s job is to dampen expectations by explaining the intricacies of the project, building a strong relationship with fans that allows for gradual improvements to be made without the instant pressure of results.
 
 
Find his best XI and stick with it
 
Too much chopping and changing over the last few years has held the club back, and so Grant must use his first few weeks in charge to decide on some key positions.
 
Hearts need to settle on a clear number one and back four, which in time can improve the club’s poor defensive record, and then decide which of Abubakar Traore, Kojo Obeng Junior, and Anthony Quayson will be his trusted goalscorer.
 
Strikers need a run of games to get confident, while defenders rely upon mutual understanding to eliminate errors. Too much instability under Wellington undermined Hearts at both ends. This is unlikely to be the case under Grant.
 
Finally Hearts fans will get to know who their manager likes and dislikes, which in turn should set the ball rolling for a tactical revolution.
 
By: Godfred Budu Yeboah
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