Accra, March 11, GNA - "Sir" Cecil Jones Attuquayefio, head coach of Accra Hearts of Oaks has asked stakeholders of the club to close their ranks as the team prepares for the return leg of the preliminary round of the CAF Champions League against Dolphins of Nigeria next Sunday.
Hearts will attempt to overturn a 4-0 drubbing by the Nigerian club at the Port Harcourt Liberation Sports Stadium a week ago. The coach urged the rank and file to burry their differences and throw their weight behind the team to redeem its 'injured image". The celebrated Africa coach said: "we can only make assurance doubly sure if we gird our lions, assess the situation and take the corrective measures to achieve victory".
He underscored the importance of supporters in such crucial matches and urged the Phobian family to help evoke the "never say die" spirit come Sunday, March 20 at the Accra Sports Stadium. "We have done it before through our collective effort and I know if we all play our roles very well we can lift Hearts high up in the sky", Coach Attiquayefio said.
The former Benin coach is of the conviction that Hearts could score five unanswered goals against the Dolphins to progress to the next stage of the competition.
The coach blamed the team's first leg humiliation to inadequate preparation partly caused by the "choked" football calendar which did not give the boys enough time to rest but said there was no need to play the blame game now.
"We never had the benefit of resting after a hectic season before reassembling for the pre-season training which normally involves physical drills, strong psychological and mental conditioning", the coach said.
He conceded though that injury and player exodus affected the team's preparation for the match.
Lawrence Adjei, Francis Bossman, Acquaah Harrison, skipper Lawrence Adjah Tetteh, Kwabena Boafo, Dan Quaye and Michael Donkor were all hit by injury prior to the Nigerian game while Amankwaah Mireku, Prince Tagoe and Bernard Don Bortey were globe trotting in search for clubs.