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Soccer News of Friday, 15 March 2002

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Herbert Addo to Hearts' rescue

After series of brainstorming and an intensive search for an accomplished brain, the power holders within the ranks of Champion Club, Hearts of Oak have settled on the experience of former Goldfields coach, Herbert Addo, to steer affairs after the departure of the trusted Jones Attuquayefio.

Following the failure of the club's management to renew its alliance with Jones after his contract expired in December last year, the former Black Stars coach, Herbert Addo is now all set to button his rainbow-coloured suit to issue instructions from the Phobian bench.

As from today, sitting on the bench next to him will be ex-Black Stars keeper, Salifu Ansah, who returns to his former stomping ground to take charge of the goalkeepers at the club.

The decision to appoint these capable hands follows the club's dismal performance in the first leg of the African Champion Clubs competition last Sunday which was only one in a chain of recent poor showings by the club. Sources with strong links to the Phobian household have revealed that the Ghanaian champions had previously made tempting overtures to their new coach as well as another respected coach, Isaac Paha, to assist caretaker coach Ofei Ansah in a bid to salvage what is left of their mathematical chance in the Africa campaign.

Decision makers in Hearts are said to have made contacts with both coaches to lure them into their fold after hopes of continuing their romance with the reliable Cecil Jones Attuquayefio hit the rocks.

Jones Attuquayefio who led the team to their maiden continental glory in 2000 took a sabbatical at the close of the past season and is yet to report back to work although the club has begun its quest for honours in the season. Inside sources say Hearts are doubtful about the return of Jones, although he promised to do so before embarking on his long trip. Jones had given the impression that his stay outside the Hearts' camp would not go beyond March 10 but with his absence, even until this day, Phobian faithfuls have lost all hopes of his promised return.

To worsen their reservations, word quickly spread that he was on the verge of securing a contract to coach at a soccer academy somewhere in Britain. That alone awakened the club's management to look elsewhere for a capable replacement ahead of their continental second leg clash against Mali's Stade Malien in Bamako in a fortnight's time, as well as for their local championship defence.

This extremely compelling situation, therefore, informed the pursuance of both coaches Herbert Addo and Isaac Paha, any of whom was well within the plans of the Phobian family.

A source close to Paha confirmed the Hearts approach but also revealed that due to his commitment to the national Under-20 and 23 teams he played down his desire for the Hearts job, although he expressed great interest in it. Currently, he is said to be on a talent-hunt exercise in the northern part of the country, confirming his pledge to the national cause.

This narrowed down the search to focus on Herbert Addo whose credentials include WAFU championship titles with Sekondi Hasaacas and Kumasi Cornerstone. He also took Goldfields to the finals of the maiden Champions League championship in 1997.

In fact his relationship with the club would have arrived earlier than this had he not quoted astronomical figures when he was approached during Jones' short but controversial stint with the Stars.