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02.11.2007 League Report

Hearts, Kotoko Clash Again

Enigmatic striker, Baba Adamu, better known in football circles as Baba Amando, is set to evoke yet another transfer storm involving the two soccer giants, Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak.

This is coming only months after the two teams nearly split heads over the transfer of Aduana Stars' teenage sensation, Kofi Abanga.

Amando, famed for stirring controversy after he was dropped from Ghana's 2006 World Cup squad, is currently in the country after completing a loan spell in Russia and is yearning for a local challenge in a bid to re-launch his flagging career which appears to be at the twilight.

The former Kumasi Asante Kotoko striker, after struggling to keep a regular place at Lokomotiv Moscow, was loaned to another Russian side, Krylia Sovetov.

He joined Turkish side Sakaryaspor but left after playing just seven matches and scoring one goal. He is reportedly willing to talk to potential suitors who are ready to meet his financial demands.

Since returning home a few weeks ago, both Hearts of Oak and Kotoko officials have been holding talks with the player's agent in Ghana in a bid to register him for the coming season.

However, his asking price seems to have dazed officials of both clubs, particularly the Phobians, who are already struggling to raise money to keep Charles Taylor.

It is clear the gifted midfielder will not come cheap. After separate talks with the player's agents, the two clubs were hit with a staggering signing-on fee of $100,000 and a further $4,000-a-month salary in order to secure the services of Armando.

An official of Hearts who spoke with the Graphic Sports on condition of anonymity acknowledged that the astronomical amount being demanded might compel the premier league champions to look for other options to bolster their squad for domestic and continental competitions.

“We know Armando's qualities but the amount of money being demanded is just out of reach, and considering the fact that we are still grappling with the Charles Taylor transfer and also the fact that it would cost us so much to play in Africa, securing the services of Armando might not be a prudent investment for a cash-strapped club like Hearts,” he said.

Apart from the huge financial outlay, Armando is only ready to commit 12 months to domestic football after which he plans to launch another foreign professional career.

This is one condition that might eventually drive away the Phobians, according to an insider.

“A huge sum like this will enable us recruit other players and secure the services of a foreign coach, but these are options we have to think through carefully to weigh the pros and cons of any such move,” he said.

Kotoko's Management member in charge of communications, Mr Kwame Baah-Nuakoh, confirmed yesterday that the club was in talks with Armando's agent but said nothing concrete had been finalised.

“It's an issue being discussed between our chief executive and the other party at the moment,” he said.

The much-travelled player joined Kotoko from Swedru All Blacks about seven years ago during the Herbert Mensah administration, and after two seasons with the Porcupine Warriors he joined the exodus bandwagon to the United Arab Emirates where he featured for Al-Shabab and later with Russian clubs, Chernomorez Novorossiisk, FC Rostselmash and Lokomotiv Moskva.

Unsettled Armando moved on loan to FC Dinamo Minsk of Belarus and returned to UAE to join Al Asr and made a U-turn to Russia to feature for Krylia Sovetov.

Story by Maurice Quansah
& Andy Quao

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