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13.03.2005 Football News

Dolphin deny Hearts claim

By Raymond Yeboah

Nigeria's Dolphin has dismissed Hearts claims that they used an ineligible player in their Caf champions league second round victory last Sunday. The Ghanaian club Hearts are protesting that striker Endurance Idahor was ineligible to play for Dolphin in that encounter because he was not duly registered before Caf's 15 January deadline.

The 2004 Caf confederation cup winners also includes in their protest that Idahor's jersey number and registration card had a February date in contrast with that of other players.

Dolphin's secretary, Fatai Olayinka has told Nigeriasports.com that he is aware of Heart's claims but denies that Idahor was ineligible.

"It's no issue and there's no cause for alarm because we have nothing to worry about. It's disappointing that a club as big as Hearts would thrive on protest to make the next stage of a continental competition," Olayinka said.

"We had a mix up with his first registration back in January and the new one only arrived on the eve of the game, that's why they (Hearts) are crying foul over his inclusion but we are confident Caf understand the situation better.

On Tuesday, Hearts officials complained to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) that the striker was ineligible to play for Dolphins in the game but Olayinka insist the claim did not come as a surprise.

"We are not surprised they still went ahead with their protest because we noticed [Endurance] was posing beside the centre referee for a photograph at half time of the game on Sunday.

"Instead of planning strategies for the return leg in Accra, they are busy protesting blindly against our player ". Olayinka concluded.

Dolphin the Nigerian league champions, defeated Hearts 4-0 in the first leg of that game in Port Harcourt and Idahor the player at the centre of the storm, got Dolphin's second goal.

The second leg of comes up in Ghana on 20 March

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