The match, billed for the Accra Sports Stadium, home of Hearts of Oak must be the most crucial meeting with sworn rivals, Kotoko in what will be their 102nd league clash as both seek to avoid the drop.
Survival without a doubt will be the watchwords instead of the usual bragging right the two clubs seek in every meeting, with the Phobians clearly aware that only a win could rescue them from the jaws of relegation that has bedevilled their season.
Hearts, winners of 34 matches between both sides thus far are 14th on the 16-league table with 29 points, three less than the ‘Reds’ who are 13th in the competition they play as defending champions.
Kototo have lost eight matches, drawn eight times and won eight in a split of all eights in a manner that has define their spell which has seen their supporters plunged into un-end anguish, that has led to them sometimes taking their players hostage after matches.
Hearts’ record has been less impressive with seven victories, eight draws just as Kotoko and nine losses, one more than visitor’s to underscore why they are three points behind the defending champions.
The Phobians will be the first to admit that their 1-0 victory over Kotoko in the reverse fixture will count for nothing unless they post another win that has the potential to turn around their fortunes with six matches to end the season.
With both teams sacking their respective coaches mid-season in their quest to salvage their run, Sunday’s meeting without a doubt is expected to bring to the fore every trick in the book to undo one another for a win that could pass for a life line for any.
Hearts’ stand-in coach Edward Ansah, understandably knows the task ahead and is quick to state his side’s intent going into the must-win match.
“Sunday's match is a rivalry game. Hearts-Kotoko games are always tough. Form does not guide anyone but we believe we have the trump card over Kotoko. We have had a whole week to prepare for them.”
Ansah’s assertion clearly signals the Phobians’ intent but what will be more crucial remains how the homers will translate their thoughts into deeds with Kotoko who have won 31 of their meetings desperate to win in Accra and break away from the shackle of the dreadful relegation battle.
Storming Accra for the first time since leaving Hearts to Kotoko will be David Duncan, who was christened the saviour when he switched allegiance after the former, showed him the door for non-performance.
Duncan who has consistently moaned about the conversion rate of his side’s attack led by Ahmed Toure who flirted with Hearts during preseason is expected to do his former employers no favours with an envisaged vengeance approach.
With the battle lines clearly defined and Kotoko looking slightly the better side based on the complexion of their play, chances created, poor conversion rate regardless, Hearts defence quartet of Shaun October, Philip Boampong, Reuben Gnagne and Owusu Bempah could have a busy day at the office.
When the Phobian and Porcupine Warriors gather to witness history, the cheers, the boos, the tears, laughter, desire and hope all put together will not matter as much as the results for either side.