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Sports News of Saturday, 28 November 2020


Hearts of Oak to axe top star Benjamin Afutu over new contract delays

Hearts of Oak midfielder Benjamin Afutu Hearts of Oak midfielder Benjamin Afutu

Accra Hearts of Oak are considering freezing out their top-notch midfielder Benjamin Afutu over his refusal to extend his expiring contract, can exclusively reveal.

The 24-year-old was initially axed from the club’s list of players to be selected for Sunday’s Ghana Premier League match against Inter Allies.

That is because he has refused to have sit-down talks with the management of the Accra-based giants over extension of his contract that expires next month.

However coach Edward Odoom recalled the talented player to join Saturday morning's training ahead of the away game against their city rivals.

That was because on Friday the former Karela United player was not included in their squad list for the match.

But after talks between management and the coaching staff, Afutu was recalled to join Saturday’s training and could be in contention for selection for the match.

The sticking point still remains that the Phobians have been unable to get Afutu to sit down to agree on terms to be proposed for the extension of his contract.

The midfielder’s contract expires in just four weeks and without a contract extension, Hearts will lose the player even before the first round ends.

Afutu will move from the club on a free transfer and compound the contract extension problems for the Phobians who have recently lost several players who refused to extend their contracts.

As such the initial move not to include him in the squad for the Inter Allies game shows that Hearts are not keen on giving the player the platform to market himself and then leave in a few days later to a rival team for free.

The move by coach Odoom shows that Hearts might have made some progress in getting the player to talk over a new contract and terms but are also willing to crack the whip to stop players refusing to extend their expiring contracts.

Our investigations show that management of the club have done all they could to extend the contract of the player but the demands of the player is huge and the club is not ready to pay that gargantuan for the player to stay.

Insiders say the club’s management has asked the coach to take him out of the club’s plan and give Niger star midfielder Mamane Lawali and Abdul Aziz Nurudeen the opportunity to start more games to build their confidence.

Afutu is a hard working midfielder who can pass well, tackle and shoot from long range. He joined the 20-time Ghana Premier League Champions in the year 2018 and has proven to be the best defensive midfielder in the team.

He has paired up perfectly with Emmanuel Nettey and Fredrick Ansah Botchway in the middle has won the club more matches following this partnership.

Hearts Of Oak signed Niger Midfielder Mamane Lawale this season and he could be the direct replacement of Afutu Kotey this season.

The 23-year-old defensive midfielder who played for Al Merreikh in Sudan tasted his first premier league game against Ashgold in the Week Two of the Ghana Premier League and was superb.