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Transfers of Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Source: Graphic Sports

Aziz Ansah on free transfer

Local football's big name, Aziz Ansah, could revive interest in the transfer market this season as he is set for a free transfer to league champions Accra Hearts of Oak.

The former Kotoko player has formally ended a seven-year stay with the Porcupine Warriors - interrupted only by a six-month loan deal in Israel after the 2006/2007 season, and becomes a major beneficiary of the operation of the Bosman Ruling in Ghana.

According to a report by the Graphic Sports, final negotiations for his expected move to Hearts will, however, coincide with the appointment of a substantive chief executive for Hearts by the close of Wednesday.

The Hearts board will prune a list of candidates which has swelled from just Frank Nelson and Herbert Mensah to Neil Armstrong Mortagbe, national chairman of the supporters’ wing, Chapters, and long-serving management member, Steve Akwetey, at Wednesday's decisive meeting in Accra to select Tommy Okine's successor.

"By the operation of the Bossman Ruling, I don't think we have any ties with him anymore and so he is free to go," Kotoko management member, George Amoako, told the Graphic Sports in an interview on Monday.

The former Black Stars player struck his last two-year contract with Kotoko in May 2005 when Alhaji Salifu Abubakari chaired the Kotoko Interim Management Team. That contract, even before it was due to end in May 2007, was truncated by his dismissal by the club in January this year.

But Mr Amoako said the decision to offload Aziz and seven others, including another Hearts bound, Michael Asante, was appropriate at the time and came with no regrets.

The Bosman Ruling, replacing the old regulation that tied players to their clubs for three more months after their contracts had expired, became operational in Ghana from June at the insistence of FIFA and endorsed at the last GFA Congress. It permits players to move out without a transfer fee just after their contracts expired.

Aziz trained with Hearts briefly in the days leading to the Onetouch Top 4 final against Kotoko in Sunyani last Sunday, but a supposed threat from Kotoko protesting the use of the player appeared to have tampered with his place in the match.

But Hearts now appear set to open negotiations for their long-cherished dream of roping him into the Phobian fold.

Ernest Odoi, manager of Aziz and owner of Accra-based Division Three side, VOA, confirmed to the Graphic Sports that Hearts had approached him and the player for a possible transfer.

"We have spoken but we are yet to firm matters. I believe upon the appointment of a substantive Chief Executive, full negotiations will begin for him to join Hearts," Mr Odoi stressed.

Hearts sources also confirmed their interest in the player, indicating he would be a major part of their campaign to retain the league trophy in 2007/2008.

If it materialises the highly efficient utility player, employed in defence or midfield or even in attacking roles, will finally join a club that has been on his heels for more than half a decade.

Indeed, his switch from Great Olympics to Kotoko during Herbert Mensah's administration at Kotoko departed from the single route charted by other Olympics players such as Dan Quaye, Awuley Quaye Jnr, Charles Allotey, Charles Taylor, Laryea Kingston, Ali Kwame, among others, towards Hearts.