Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club and SOS Networx today made history when a unique contract between the two parties was concluded whereby SOS Networx - Hearts of Oaks' Sports and Marketing Management Consultant - was engaged to recruit and manage a new Technical Director on behalf of Hearts of Oak.
Mr. Herbert Mensah, CEO of SOS Networx, said from his UK office that “it takes a brave client to adopt breakthrough strategies in order to really break through in a very competitive environment.”
The agreement between the three parties - Hearts of Oak, SOS Networx and Ernst Middendorp from Düsseldorf in Germany - was concluded after two months of delicate negotiations. Middendorp gained first hand experience of the Ghanaian environment when he was head coach of Kumasi Asante Kotoko between 2000 and 2002. According to Herbert Mensah, who was Chairman of Kotoko at the time, Middendorp played a critical role in the rebuilding of Kotoko who managed to win the 2003 Ghana premier league championship after a dry spell of ten years.
Middendorp qualified Kotoko to the quarterfinals of the 2002 African Cup of Nations before resigning in April of that year. Kotoko went head to reach the finals of the same tournament. His immediate task will be to raise a formidable squad capable of qualifying for the money zone of the CAF Champions League, something that has eluded Hearts of Oak since their epoch-making Champions League victory in 2000.
Hearts of Oak are playing Stade Malien in Bamako in two weeks and it would take the German a miracle to overcome the hurdle with team morale at an all time low after the loss to Kotoko and the suspension of two instrumental players in the persons of Emmanuel Osei Kuffour and Dan Quaye. According to Herbert Mensah he does not expect Middendorp to 'work immediate magic' for Hearts as Middendorp will have to work out new strategies to get Hearts back on track.