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Sports News of Friday, 15 December 2017


Hearts can do without Atinga, Kizito, others — Frank Nuttall

Accra Hearts of Oak’s Scottish coach, Frank Nuttal, says the Phobians can do without four key stars whose contract extension negotiations have stirred controversy in the club in the past weeks.

Despite reports that Hearts board chairman, Togbe Afede XIV, is making overtures towards the return of Vincent Atinga and Kwame Kizito especially, Coach Nuttal insists that his team was fine without the duo and that he would rather focus on strengthening the squad with new players.

A source close to the board chairman confirmed to the Graphic Sports yesterday that the two players were in constant touch with the bankroller of the club and were ready to make a U-turn after their search for a foreign club hit a snag

Atinga, Kizito, Skipper Thomas Abbey and Leonard Tawiah are the players who seem to be stirring up the emotions of the club’s supporters following their refusal to renew their contracts.

However, Coach Nuttall told the Graphic Sports in an interview yesterday that as much as he would revel in their return, there was no point crying over spilt milk.

Instead, he asked the public to be modest in their criticisms of the players because the dynamics of football had evolved over the years, hence players’ pursuit of greener pastures abroad must not be hindered, especially when they get juicy offers from abroad.

“I was disappointed that people were criticising them because when they were Hearts players, they did fantastic service for the club, so once their contracts have ended we should respect them.

“They are professional players so they have to move on to enhance their careers and also enhance their salaries to enable them to make a better living for themselves and their families. Age is not on their side, so I was a little bit disappointed that people were criticising them. That is a bit unfair,” he said.

According to the former Gor Mahia of Kenya coach, the performance of the team will not be affected by the absence of those players but the situation would rather create opportunity for other talents to join the club.

“They are no longer our players so we should rather look around to recruit some new players. This is an opportunity for other players to showcase what they can do for the club.”