On June 8, 2005 (15 years ago), manager of Accra Hearts of Oak Emmanuel Offei Ansah passed away.
Offei Ansah collapsed after a league match against Liberty Professionals in Accra, he was rushed to the Ridge Hospital where he passed away the next morning.
Offei Ansah, a former Black Stars defender and a member of the Ghana team that won the African cup of Nations (AFCON) in Accra in 1978 had just defeated a Liberty Professionals side led by his mentor Cecil Jones Attuquayefio in a game week 8 Premier league encounter.
There was not a single moment for the former defender to celebrate his side’s 1-0 victory against the man he mentored, against the man he regarded a father. Ofei Ansah collapsed after the game.
The medical officials present after administering first aid treatment on Ofei Ansah referred him to the Ridge Hospital where he succumbed to death. Hearts of Oak and Ghana had lost a loyal servant.
Offei Ansah in his playing days was a defender. He was versatile, aggressive and combative. His playing style earned him the nick name “The Rock of Gibraltar”.
The late Offei Ansah rose from the Hearts of Oak junior ranks (Auroras) to become an integral member of the senior team. He captained the team and was part of the Hearts of Oak side that lost two CAF Champions league final in the late 1970’s.
Ofei Ansah as a player won six league titles (1973, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1984, 1985), four FA Cups (1973, 1974, 1979, 1981) and two Ghana Super Cups (1973, 1979). He was also part of the Ghana team that won the AFCON in Accra in 1978.
After serving Hearts of Oak for more than a decade, he joined Okwahu United where he later became a player-manager due to his leadership and motivational skills. He returned to Hearts of Oak in 1993 and became a member of the technical staff.
He was part of the coaching team that saw Hearts win six league titles, two FA cups, two Ghana Super cup, the African Champions League in 2000, the CAF Super cup in 2001 and Confederation Cup in 2004.
After serving as assistant under Herbert Addo, Cecil Jones Attuquayefio and Archibald Lamptey, he became manager of the team, replacing Archibald Lamptey after a 3-2 loss in Accra to newly promoted side Ebusua Dwarfs in the first game of the 2005/06 league season.
Ofei Ansah managed 8 league games. He won 6, drew 1 and lost 1. The single defeat came against bitter rivals Asante Kotoko at the Kumasi Sports stadium, Hearts of Oak lost the game 3-1.
Ofei Ansah’s time at Hearts of Oak and on earth ended on June 8, 2005. Hearts of Oak, Ghana and football lost a loyal servant, a dedicated and determined man to death. He died just 2 days after his 52nd birthday.
On this sad day, 15 years after his demise, we still remember Ofei Ansah. His name is forever stacked in our hearts and his memory in our hearts. May his gentle soul in peace.