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17.12.2004 Football News

Hearts Barricaded In Secret Camp

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Two weeks to the first leg of their CAF Confederation Cup final against Asante Kotoko, Hearts of Oak have sneaked out of public sight.Since their last normal workout at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra last Tuesday, the Phobians have confined themselves within a secret camp where their souls and mentality have been focused on a total concentration.

Indeed,within their camp lies a heavy embargo on potential intruders, coupled with a blackout on any foreign correspondence.With players' phones put off and management members unwilling to answer both familiar and unfamiliar calling lines,Hearts have redefined their preparations for the historic final and their new mentality for the epoch-making clashes.

The team regrouped in Accra last Friday after the last minute postponement of the two-leg tie originally scheduled for November 28 and December 11. But while the January 2 first leg in Accra draws closer, management has moved the team out of sight to afford Coach Jones Attuquayefio maximum focus.Significantly, not even Coach Attuquayefio appeared to know the final destination of the team as it headed out of town.

In fact, the significance of the games aside, management's decision might have been informed by a sense of security against any possible infiltration of their camp. With each side's open declaration of interests in certain players in the opposing camps Hearts' move appears a precaution against the possible jeopardy of their continental championship ambitions.

And like their opponents,Hearts have skipped the Christmas festivities in favour of the nervous preparation for the closing continental club tie.A source close to management, however, confirmed that the team was heading towards neighbouring Togo last Wednesday where they expect to spend the Christmas.

“The team needs absolute concentration to prepare, and we think they must be protected from possible distraction,” the source said.

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