(By Veronica Commey, GNA Special correspondent in Port Harcourt)
Port Harcourt, Nigeria, March 6, GNA - The shattered coach of Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club, Sir Cecil Jones Attuquayefio has refused to throw in the towel irrespective of his side's poor showing in their Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Champions League preliminary stage match against Dolphins of Nigeria at the Port Harcourt Liberation Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Hearts were given a 4-0 drubbing from a Dolphins side to hand them their second defeat from another Nigerian side in two weeks after they lost 0-2 to Enyimba in their Super Cup game played in Aba. Coach Attuquayefio told the GNA Sports that, "everything is possible in football, provided we are able to eradicate the mess that engulfed us before this game".
The coach, apparently referring to the player crisis that nearly compelled his team from calling off the trip said "we played without a single active player today.
My boys lacked fitness and it's so sad that my pre-match phobia for a possible massacre had come to light".
Coach Attuquayefio was however optimistic that Hearts can overturn the tables with the right attitude when they host the Nigerian champions in Accra in two weeks time.
"We have what it takes to beat Dolphins at home, but mind you, it will all depend on the response of the players to training and all the good things that makes every team tick".
He emphasised on the need to have a full complement of his team before the return game, which already looks like a tall order for the Phobians.
Hearts would need to squeeze five unanswered goals past the simple Nigerian champions when they lock horns in Accra. Coach Attuquayefio said he was convinced that the return of influential players like Amankwah Mireku, suspended Dan Coleman, injured players Dan Quaye and Lawrence Adjei and truant, Louis Agyeman could work wonders in Accra.
"What we need now is to have all hands on deck and with that I can confidently say, you will be a fool to rule us out". The Coach, who jumped into the defence of late comers Bernard Don Bortey and Prince Tagoe for being travel weary, said the presence of the duo among other factors could help the Phobians positively when the Nigerians trek to the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra. 06 Mar. 05