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Opinions of Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Columnist: Ghana Soccernet

The glorified enemy within: Blame Odotei for quenching the Phobian Fire

The appointment of Kenichi Yatsuhashi as the head coach of Hearts was greeted with contempt amongst the football fraternity. The Japanese trainer became the butt of all jokes.

They predicted his dismissal before the end of the season. He left half way through the season as predicted but a hero not as a villain the pessimists had wished for.

Pundits wrote off Hearts. They gave the former African Champions no dog chance to challenge for the title but courtesy the Japanese gaffer they made nonsense of every intellectual analysis.

They all of a sudden became not just title contenders but title favourites. They broke records away from home at no-go venues in the Ghana Premier League.

Behind all the smiles and cheers on field were friction and jeers. The management team led by Vincent Sowah Odotei was always in disagreement with the head coach's conduct. There were rumours on how the coach failed to accord the management the needed respect.

His social media life was also a problem. Amidst all the behind the scene wrangling the coach was achieving results on the field for the management to basks in the glory. Why bite the hand the feeds you? Vincent Sowah Odotei was all over radio boasting on how Hearts of Oaks have become a defacto sponsor of the league because of the new aura around the club which attracts fans everywhere they visit.

The aura came not by accident. It did not come because the management secured a multi mission sponsorship. Neither were they building a state of the art football complex. The euphoria and aura was all down to the success on the pitch and the persona of the coach.

Why destroy something that brings you joy because of

Pride. By the end of the first round Hearts had 26 points, tied on 2nd with Kotoko and Aduana stars. A progress on their 20 points and 10th placed at the same stage the season before.

The attitude of Hearts' management can only be likened to the mythical African witch who enjoys the success and money of a family breadwinner but still works on his destruction.

Hearts kissed the league trophy good bye the hour they parted ways with fan favourite Kenichi Yatsuhashi.

The unpopular decision was unpardonable and it took the steam off the wheel in the title chase of the glorious club. All the love the fans regained for the club vanished into the thin air.

20/06/2016 was the day the Phobia dream became a nightmare.

The players were fond of the coach, the synergy between the technical team and the playing body was unrivaled in the league. They played for their coach. The aggression they showed when down was reminiscent of the classical Phobia 'Never Say Die' character. If parting ways with Kenichi was bad, overlooking his assistant for another coach who believe in a different style of play was worse.

Sergio Traguil Daniel, the gaffer who replaced Kenichi Yatsuhashi believes in expansive and elegant style contrary to the direct play of his predecessor which the players were accustomed to. Midway through the season, it was always going to be difficult for them to adjust to new methods.

Having to work with a new coach with a different style coupled with losing their beloved gaffer, the players were bound to lose their form and passion.

The 20 time league champion’s trophy drought has extended by another year (7 years) all thanks to the pride of the management team. It's no surprise the head of the management team can't go to the Stadium unless accompanied by bodyguards.

The Red, Yellow and Blue club will have to wait another year to quench their league trophy thirst all because Vincent Sowah Odotei traded success on the pitch for bodyguards.

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