The frosty relationship between supporters of Hearts of Oak and the club’s head coach, Slavko Matic, could force him out of the job almost five months into his two-year contract.
Following Hearts’ losses to Aduana Stars and city rivals Great Olympics, some disgruntled fans warned the Serbian tactician to stay away from the club’s training grounds, a threat they carried through by physically stopping Matic from taking charge of training last Friday morning for which he reported the incident at the Regional Police Headquarters in Accra.
Strangely, he was conspicuously absent from the team’s technical bench last Sunday as his assistant, David Ocloo, guided Hearts to defeat arch-rivals Asante Kotoko 1-0 in the 20th week betPawa Premier League fixture to win the 2022 President’s Cup at the Accra Sports Stadium.
The Daily Graphic gathers that there is growing pressure on the Hearts management to release Coach Matic from his contract as the atmosphere looks too poisoned for his continuous stay with the club.
Yesterday, the Chairman of the club’s supporters body, Elvis Herman Hesse, told the Daily Graphic that de did not foresee the coach returning to his job in the light of strong agitation from the supporters, including core and influential groups such as their Nima Chapter, whose leader, Kassim Awal Ousman, was among those advocating the sacking of the coach for poor performance.
Mr Hesse said after a number of meetings with various supporters groups, there was unanimity that Matic should be sacked and the team left in the hands of the assistant coach.
“I am 100 per cent certain that it is not possible he [Matic] would return because of the volatile atmosphere existing.
“I have been mandated by the supporters groups to inform the club’s management that they don’t want him back and the assistant coach should be tasked to handle the club for the rest of the season. The ground is simply not good for Coach Matic to stay,” admitted Mr Hesse, Chairman of the National Chapters Committee.
However, the disaffection for the 46-year-old Serbian goes beyond the agitation by the supporters. Mr Hesse revealed that there was divided opinion among some members of the Hearts technical team over the retention of the head coach over his personal relations.
Yesterday, a leading official of the club, who demanded anonymity, revealed to the Daily Graphic that at the height of the agitation by the Hearts faithful, some management officials and member of the Board of Directors advised Matic to step aside as the supporters had lost confidence in him.
The Hearts official also advised the Serbian to resign the job as a result of Phobia’s poor run of results lately.
“When that demand came from the supporters that they wanted the coach to step aside because they felt he was the cause of the problems of Hearts not winning matches, he was advised to stay off”, the source recalled.
The source explained that due to the coach’s intransigent attitude, he ignored such wise counsel and still went ahead to lead the team at the training grounds but he was heckled and thrown out by the supporters.
“Security was arranged for him not to go to the training grounds, but despite all those cautions, he defied it and went there. When I heard that he went there I was shocked,” the source noted.
“I am surprised with all that is happening he is still around. He himself should resign and go away and that is what I expect him to do.
“Since the coach came, it has been the policy of the management not to get involved in his professional work. But with the state in which we are now, the supporters have lost total confidence in him, so if I were him, I’ll just resign”.
The Serbian gaffer was appointed last October, taking over from Samuel Boadu who was sacked just three games into the season.
Since taking charge of the Phobians, Matic has guided Hearts in 18 games across all competitions out of which he has won nine, drawn four and lost five league matches, accruing 28 points in the league out of a possible 48.
Hearts are currently in fifth place on the league log with 31 points from 20 matches and trail the lead leaders Aduana Stars by five points.