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04.05.2007 Football News

Tommy Okine's Absence - Hearts Board To Take Charge

The Board of Directors of Accra Hearts of Oak is gearing up to assume full responsibility for the club's management as it intensifies the search for a new CEO following an anticipated exit of incumbent, Mr Tommy Okine, who was last week purportedly installed as the new Gbese Mantse.

The Hearts CEO, whose installation has stirred clashes between rival factions within the Gbese Clan leading to the announcement of the installation of another candidate by another faction, is said to be in confinement in accordance with custom.

He is expected to inform the board of his resignation from mainstream Hearts of Oak activities in the coming weeks.

Even though the mandate of the management team which Tommy currently heads is yet to run out, Board Chairman Mr E M Commodore-Mensah is convinced that the days of Tommy are over. Being a chief rules him out of the rough and tumble terrain of soccer administration.

Hearts, who will be officially crowned as Premier League champions on Sunday at the Dansoman Park are contemplating a break to enable their board to resolve the riddle of finding a replacement.

But Commodore-Mensah told the Graphic Sports yesterday that the club had some impending international engagements that make it imperative for the club to fill the void.

He revealed that Hearts had confirmed their participation in a four-club tourney scheduled for Abuja next month. Besides, there were other off season engagements like the Top Four which are tentatively set for the end of the month.

Although the Hearts Board chairman insists that the club's board has yet to meet to figure out a solution, some names have gained prominence within Phobian circles as possible candidates to replace Tommy.

By the original composition of the Hearts management structure, Mr Francis MaCarthy who has been acting as the Deputy CEO (until recently) would have taken charge until a substantive is appointed.

But a decision by the board early this year to withdraw all its members from the Hearts management takes him out of the equation even though insiders insist that the man who emerged as one of the strongest financial props for Hearts in recent times should be persuaded to take over.

Indeed, the current management structure places Mr Kurtz Okraku, a Communications Director of the club, to act as the CEO.

But by far the most touted candidate is Mr Frank Nelson, a director and a former management member, who quit after a boardroom disagreement.

Nelson is also known to have been a source of financial support for the club since 2005. He had had an overwhelming support for his election to the board and has never hidden his ambitions for the top job, but it is not certain whether he still nurtures it.

Former CEO, Mr Harry Zakkour, the man who led Hearts to the 2000 Champions League, cannot be discounted, say key insiders.

Story by Andy Quao