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07.08.2004 Football News

Ofei ready to continue from where Middendorp left off

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Accra, Aug 7, GNA - Ofei Ansah, caretaker coach of Accra Hearts of Oak has credited the club's Saturday's lone goal victory over Santos of South Africa to the strict training program left them by the immediate past coach of the club, Ernst Middendorp.

Ofei who was speaking to the media after Hearts picked the three maximum points in the opening Group B mini league match of the re-organised Confederations Cup said he worked in tandem with his team of coaches who were all beneficiaries of the German tactician's approach to the game, hence they were sure of victory right from the start. The coach said he was happy with the victory, irrespective of the fact that the team missed a lot of scoring chances and had to live dangerously at some stages of the match.

Ofei Ansah said he and his team are capable and prepared to carry off from where the German left off since they learnt a lot from him and would not disappoint if given the mandate by the management of the team. He said the match was a good one since both teams gave good account of themselves, but the South Africans played better in the first half as they made use of empty spaces.

"The game changed in the second half after our pep talk to the boys at the break and the evidence was there for all to see but it was unfortunate that they wasted too many chances."

Bob Solomon, Coach of the South Africans in another interview said the game was between two equally good sides and felt his team deserved at least something better from the match.

"We played well especially in the first half, but we were unlucky to have gone down that early by a freak goal which I blame on concentration lapse on the midfielders"

"They stood ball watching and allowed the Hearts players to string as many as four passes just before the box which culminated in the long drive that resulted in the goal.

He said he was however happy with the way the team regrouped after the early set back but said they were unlucky not to have equalised after having created some decent chances.

Coach Solomon said the second half belonged to Hearts as they played well especially from the flanks and managed to create some good chances, which they also were not able to convert.

"Football at this level is about goals and the one that takes advantage of the chances that come its way always wins irrespective of who played better, because at the end it is the goals and points that matter."

He said their performance was hampered by the fact that many of their players were on the injury list and hence had to draft some players into unfamiliar positions.

He promised Hearts of a different Santos in the return leg in South Africa were they would definitely avenge the defeat.

Hearts victory moves them to the top of Group B of the Confederations Cup where they have been grouped with CotonSport of Cameroon and the winner of the Orlando Pirates and Sabo de Batie of Cameroon match that is to be played on August 15.

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