10.08.2004 Sports News

Can Attuquayefio survive the second hurdle?

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(William Ezah, GNA Sports)

Accra, Aug. 10, GNA - After two years of absence in the camp of Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club, veteran coach, Sir Cecil Jones Attuquayefio has made a u-turn to the club he led to conquer Africa in 2000 with the aim to taking them through similar assignments this year.

Not only did Attuquayefio lead Hearts to conquer the continent, but on the domestic scene the coach was responsible for a triple league title as well as other domestic trophies, an achievements which obviously makes him the greatest of all coaches ever to have handled Hearts.

The departure of the coach from Hearts in the early parts of 2002 was, however, not a memorable one as his decision to embark on a month's leave resulted in his loss of the job though there were other remote causes for his dismissal.

The problem did not end there and the veteran coach had a shock of his life in his coaching career, when then on the helm of affairs with Liberty Professionals, he was attacked by fans of his former club, Hearts after they suffered a defeat of 2-0 in a four-club tournament. These incidents, no doubt leaves bitter memories on the minds of the coach and many wonder whether he would be willing to return to the club, but alas, the coach has made a return after embarking on another historic feat in Benin where he masterminded the nation's first historic entry into the Africa Cup of Nations held in Tunisia early this year. From all indications, the coach is coming back to the team with richer curriculum vitae, but a cross section of the football public the These arguments are based on the current predicaments of the one-time conquerors of Africa as well as the non-existence of similar factors that led to his success some years ago.

The assignments will surely be one of the biggest tests in the coaches' career in order to again prove his worth.

The present set-up of the Club is not as strong as it used to be. Hearts is no more a dreaded side as the quality of materials presently cannot be compared with those of the past years.

A critical examination of the 2000 squad reveals that most of the players were of the highest quality who had experienced active international exposure both on the club and national levels hence they had no difficulty in executing the task of annexing the trophies at their time.

One can mention the likes of Yaw Amankwah Mireku, Jacob Nettey, Agyeman Duah, Steven Tetteh, Sammy Adjei, Dan Quaye, Charles Allotey, Keneth Sarpong, Emmanuel Adjogu, Emmanuel Donkor, Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour, Ishmeal Addo, Joe Ansah, Adjah Tetteh and Eddy Copson who in one way or the other have either played actively for the junior and senior national teams as well as participated before in club championships on the continental level.

This is in sharp contrast with the present squad, which is somehow made up of what one can call novices and ageing players.

It is obvious that the likes of Eric Nyarko, Acquah Harrison, Micheal Donkor, Louis Agyeman, Ablade Morgan, Sannie Mohammed, Frank Kornu, Adjebu Lawson, Prince Tagoe and Francis Bossman are inexperienced and lack the required exposure to handle difficult situations whilst Osei-Kuffour, Mireku, Quaye, Copson, Ansah and newly introduced Lawrence Adjei are obviously ageing.

Moreover, out of the fourteen regular players who won the honours in 2000, only six are still in the present team with Quaye, Mireku, Armah and Osei Kuffour as the regulars whilst Ansah and Copson are no more regular members of the team.

It is also an open secret that the club is now in serious financial difficulties even though it is a feature of almost all corporate organisations, but Hearts seem to have peculiar problems with their creditors at their neck almost everyday. The club since 2000 has not been able to qualify to the money zone of the Champions League despite strenuous efforts.

This situation has pushed the club into huge debts, as they have to rely on loan facilities to embark on the preliminary campaigns in a bid to enter the money zone, which on most occasions fall on rocks.

Following these financial difficulties, the Club has not been able to acquire the services of some seasoned players (stars) to beef up the team. Their desire to acquire the services of players like William Tierro, Elvis Opoku, Eric Gawu, Yahusa Abubakari have not materialised due to non availability of funds to attract these players, hence they have to fall on low quality and inexperienced chaps to beef up the team. Coach Attuquayefio in the past took over the affairs of Hearts at a time the enthusiasm of the Board, Management, players and the other stakeholders was very high and they were willing to achieve something, but the situation is quite different this time round said some concerned supporters to the GNA Sports and that due to the avalanche of problems on their head as well as the situation where the Confederations Cup competition is not as lucrative and attractive as the Champions League. For these reasons, one wonders whether there is the possibility of success this time around for the "Millennium coach" and his Phobian family.

On the other hand, coach Attuquayfio stands a chance of survival and success if he is able to apply the right technical remedies on the materials at hand at the moment. It is a fact that the coach was able to build a winsome team for the Benin National side which led to their first qualification to the Nation's Cup in 2004, and there is therefore no doubt that he can repeat the same feat.

It would be recalled that coach Ernst Middendorp, under similar constraints was able to steer the team to the last preliminaries of then Champions League and coach Attuquayefio also possesses similar qualities to succeed, judging from his experience and track record.

This will however be based on adopting the right tactical approach, team build up, psychological build-up for his boys and the needed support from the Board, Management and all stakeholders to ensure success, but it is apparent that without the above factors and the needed synchronization, the veteran coach is bound to fail. The veteran coach would also have to build on the discipline of the playing body and re-energise the confidence and trust of the teeming supporters to once again bring glory to the once famed club on the African continent

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