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Harrison Afful discounts talks Esperance have dipped in form ahead of Hearts clash  FIFA.com News

Harrison Afful

Harrison Afful

Harrison Afful has dispelled suggestions that his Esperance side have lost their venom ahead of facing Hearts of Oak in the Confederation Cup play-off.

The Tunisian outfit will host Hearts of Oak between the weekend of 15-17 May and the return leg in Accra in 5-7 June.

This is repeat of the 2000 CAF Champions League final where Hearts recorded a double to lift the trophy for the first time.

Esperance were eliminated from the Champions League by Sudanese side Al Merreikh and there are concerns about the firepower of the Blood and Gold.

But Afful, whose solitary strike earned them the title in 2011, is believes his teammates still have the quality to eliminate the club from his native.

“What happened in the CAF Champions League is one of those things and we have moved on. We still have quality in our squad and ready for the challenge,” the Ghana defender told Africanfootball.com

“This generation of players are determined to do more and we want to reach.”

Angry AshantiGold coach Bashir Hayford hits back at critics  FIFA.com News

Bashiru Hayford

Bashiru Hayford

AshantiGold coach Bashiru Hayford has hit back at criticisms he lacks the credentials to guide the miners to their first Premier League title in over two decades.

The miners have opened a four-point lead at the top of the table after the first round in the Ghanaian top-tier.

Despite the impressive run from the Obuasi-based side, doubts still hangs around the former Kotoko and Medeama trainer to steer the side to their first Premier League title in 22 years.

He has been accused of losing the plot during the second round of Premier League campaigns – an accusation which has ruffed feathers.

Hayford is unhappy with the failure specialist tag and has dared his critics to provide evidence to back their claims.

“When I hear some of this things, it makes me wonder. Where is the empirical prove that I always fail in the second half of a season,”he angrily quirred

“The critics should tell me what I did during my time at Power FC, Kotoko, Medeama and the other clubs I hve coached in the past.

“You cant make just a vague accusation and expect me to take you serious.  I am not a failure because every second round of a league campaign is difficult.”

Ashantigold travel to Accra to face Hearts on the resumption of the Ghanaian top-tier on May 17.

Jacob Nettey: Former Hearts skippers predicts doom for Phobians against Tunisian giants Esperance  FIFA.com News

Former Hearts of Oak skipper Jecob Nettey

Former Hearts of Oak skipper Jecob Nettey

By Rahman Osman

Follow on twitter @iamrahmanosman

Former Hearts of Oak skipper and a member of the 64 battalion says the Phobians will be white washed when they take Tunisian giants Esperance.

The Phobians will take on Esperance in what is a repeat of the 2000 CAF Champions league final which the Phobians shaded over the two legs with a 5-2 aggregates.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge for both clubs ultimately in a negative way with Hearts looking a pale shadow of the all-conquering 2000 squad whiles Esperance have also struggled to replicate the form that propelled them to a CAF Champions league triumph in 2011.

Both teams have however been presented with a golden opportunity to measure the rate of their decline or reach out for hope of a brighter future after being pitted against each other in the CAF confederation cup next round of games.

Jecob Nettey the Captain and leader of the golden general for the Phobians has however predicted an easy game for Espernace.

“There is no way Hearts will be able to defeat Esperance mark it on the wall,” Jecob Nettey told Accra based Citi FM

“They will be beaten both home and away and I am telling you this not because I have pain or anything I just feel they have been just lucky so far.

“Now they will be beaten both home and away.”

The Phobians have endured a jolly ride on the continental stage but have struggled in the domestic league, finishing the first half of the domestic league on 10th position.

 

Ghana U20 chief Osei Parma expects struggling Tema Youth to survive without him  FIFA.com News

Osei Parma

Osei Parma

Ghana’s Under-20 management committee chief Wilfred Osei Parma expects his struggling Tema Youth side to survive in his absence.

Osei Parma is currently in New Zealand as head of Ghana’s contigent ahead of the 2015 World Youth Championship which starts on May 30.

The second-tier side has struggled for form and consistency in the absence of their boisterous club owner.

But with the Black Satellites expected to lit the world in the next couple of weeks, Osei Parma insists Tema Youth will survive without him.

“For me it’s national call. I have to be with the Black Satellites, period,” he said

“I know we have not really clicked so far but I expect the team to grind out results even in my absence.

“After all I’m not the coach. The team is in capable hands and I trust they will deliver.”

Tema Youth are lying 10th on the table with 15 points from 12 games.

Hearts Cooperate Affairs chief Joe Addo counting on impressive away form to edge past Esperance in Confederation Cup  FIFA.com News

Joe Addo

Joe Addo

Hearts Cooperate Affairs Manager Joe Addo is counting on the club’s impressive away form to help them ditch Esperance in the final qualifying lap in the CAF Confederation Cup.

The Ghanaian powerhouse were drawn against the Tunisian giants in Tuesday’s draw held in Cairo.

Hearts have not exactly impressed at home but their away performances in the competition have been excellent.

They have managed results at AS Police, Olympique Ngor and AC Djoliba to the surprise of many and the club’s Cooperate Affairs chief is counting on their fine away displays to provide the catalyst.

“It’s a very interesting draw and we’ll see how it goes. We have played them before and so that will  not be a problem,” he said

“They are a strong side with big pedigree on the continent just like Hearts.

“But we must instil confidence in the boys. We have played so well in our away fixtures and I expect that to continue.

“We have what it takes to beat them. We respect them but they are beatable.”

Fawaz Zowk: Ex-Hearts board member fears backlash ahead of Esperance showdown  FIFA.com News

Fawaz Zouk

Fawaz Zouk

Ex-Hearts board member Alhaji Fawaz Zowk admits the club must up their game if they are to edge past Esperance in the final qualifying round in the CAF Confederation Cup.

The 2000 African champions have drawn against the Tunisian giants in an explosive and mouth-watering two-legged ties.

The Ghanaian side travel to Tunis for the first leg before hosting Esperance at home next month.

The Phobians have been impressive in their away fixtures since the start of the competition but their home form has been a source of concern.

Their 1-0 defeat at home to Malian side AC Djoliba has heigheten fears they could crush against one of the finest sides on the continent.

And Alhjaji Fawaz Zouk, a former board member and staunch supporter of the club admits it won’t be a walk in the park for side to progress to the group phase of the competition.

“Let me honest with you, what we played against Djoliba was nothing to write home about and if it is this same performance we are going to put up against Esperance then it’s going to be a massacre,” he is quoted by ghanafootballnews

“Indeed the team has done well is ensuring that they qualified to this stage but they should be made aware of the fact that the honeymoon is over and our next opponents will not be easy.

“This is the time the players and the technical team must come together to solve any problems that the team has because Esperance are well noted for beating their opponents convincingly at home, and are tough customers in away matches too.

“At this stage of the competition, there is little or no margin for errors as it will be very costly. We need to improve as a team.”

Rashid Sumaila receives Ghana Best Defender award  FIFA.com News

RashiDefender Rashid Sumaila picked up his second Ghana Premier League Best Defender award on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old who now plays in Kuwait for Al Qadsia was adjudged the best defender in the Ghanaian top flight in the 2012/13 season – during which time he played for Asante Kotoko.

Sumaila secured a move to South African club Mamelodi Sundowns on the back of his impressive exploits in that season.

It is the second time the youngster is receiving such an award.

He picked up his first Best Defender award in the Ghanaian top flight in the 2010/11 season during which period he played for Ebusua Dwarfs.

Sumaila has since gone on to play for the Black Stars and was part of the Ghana squad at the 2014 World Cup.

Mahatma Otoo grateful to Ghana FA for career rise after clinching top gong  FIFA.com News

Mahatma Otoo

Mahatma Otoo

Striker Mahatma Otoo has thanked the Ghana FA through its organization of the Premier League for providing him a unique platform to catapult his football career.

The 23-year-old was presented with a double award as the Goal King and the Footballer of the Year in the 2012/13 Ghana Premier League season on Tuesday.

Otoo who now plays for Norwegian club Sogndal had Elvis Amartey taking delivery of the award on his behalf at the Ghana FA headquarters in Accra.

The former Hearts of Oak captain lauded GFA for providing the platform for him to sell his talent across the world with the Premier League.

“I feel so humble to have been honoured by the Ghana FA and the PLB, they deserve commendations for the unrelenting efforts to put Ghana football on a grand pedestal,” he told GHANAsoccernet.com in an e-mail note.

“I thank them and wish Ghana soccer all the best.

“For some or most of us where would we have been without this promising launch pad?

“We need it to develop our talents and also realize our potentials.

“I must admit the 2012/13 season was a rather difficult but memorable one for me.

“It’s thus appropriate to express gratitude to those who have played any role(s) in my career development as well; individuals, coaches/clubs, my numerous fans, family and the sporting media etc. God bless you all.”

Great Olympics set to resume training on Saturday to prepare for league  FIFA.com News

Great Olympics

Great Olympics

Great Olympics will return to training on Saturday to prepare for the second half of the Ghana Premier League.

The team broke camp soon after its 2-2 draw against New Edubiase in match day 15 of the league.

Head coach Yaw Acheampong wants his side to maintain the momentum gathered before the first half of the season.

Olympics won five matches, drew three and lost seven to finish 14th on the league table.

Paul Acquah: Hearts midfielder buoyant about team’s chances against Tunisian giants Esperance in CAF Confederation Cup final hurdle  FIFA.com News

Paul Acquah

Paul Acquah

Hearts of Oak midfielder Paul Acquah is confident the side can progress to the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup at the expense of Esperance.

The Phobians have been drawn against the Tunisian giants in the ultimate qualifier in Africa’s second tier competition.

Hearts will be facing their biggest test ever in their current campaign in the Confederation Cup having secured impressive wins over AS Police, Olympique de Ngor and AC Djoliba.

And though are petrified by the prospect of facing the Tunisian giants who have been very consistent in Africa all these years,

Hearts midfielder Paul Acquah is confident the side can be successful in the tie.

“They are a big club but so is Hearts too,” he said.

“We both fear each other but I am sure we will go through.

“I am very confident we can make it against Esperance so no fears at all.”

Hearts must record massive home win to upstage Esperance, says El Merreikh winger Francis Coffie  FIFA.com News

Hearts dance

Ghanaian winger Francis Coffie says a massive home result is key to Hearts of Oak’s progression in the CAF Confederation Cup against Esperance.

The Phobians will be facing the Tunisian giants in a two-legged contest for a place in the group stage of Africa’s second tier club competition.

Hearts have enjoyed a jolly ride so far in their African campaign but have their work now cut out as they come up against one of Africa’s strongest club sides in Esperance.

But Francis Coffie who helped Sudanese club El Merreikh to dump the Tunisian giants out of the Champions League has provided some solutions to the herculean task before the Phobians.

“The match against Esperance I must admit will not be easy for Hearts,” he told Happy FM.

“But then the key for Hearts is to ensure they secure a good result at home because playing Esperance away from home is not an easy task.

“They [Hearts] should ensure that they prevent them [Esperance] from scoring in Ghana and win with a margin of at least two goals.

“The atmosphere they generate in their home stadium in Tunisia is more than enough to give them a home result so Hearts must be very wary of that.”

Hearts will be away to Esperance in the first leg of the tie expected on the weekend of 15-17 May.

The game is a repeat of the 2000 CAF Champions League final where Hearts reigned supreme by winning both legs to clinch their first and only African title.

New Edubiase president Salam Yakubu confident club will avoid relegation  FIFA.com News

Abdul Salam Yakubu

New Edubiase president Abdul Salam Yakubu insists the team will fight to avoid the drop following a difficult spell in the first half of the season.

The Bekwai-based side have slipped into the relegation dog-fight after amassing only 18 points from 15 games.

But the club’s president is confident Edubiase will avoid relegation despite a seeming tight fixtures in the second half of the season.

“Although New Edubiase are in the relegation zone at the moment, we will fight hard in the second round and bounce back becauseNew Edubiase is not a relegation team,” he is quoted by Viasat 1

“We have 18 points and Medeama who are lying 4 on the league table have 23 points this means that two wins from our first two matches in the second round can take us there.

“We had a management meeting to discuss the things that went wrong with the team in the first round and we will meet the playing body to motivate them to put up their very best in the second round.”

EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Ghana youth star Michael Anaba in line for U23 call-up ahead of All Africa Games qualifier against Congo  FIFA.com News

Michael Anaba

Michael Anaba

Former Ghana Under-20 midfielder Michael Anaba is line for a call-up into the country’s Olympic team ahead of the 2015 All Africa Games qualifier against Congo later this month, GHANAsoccernet.com can exclusively reveal.

Anaba, who currently plays for Spanish side Elche, is being considered to beef up the squad ahead of the first leg tie at the Tamale stadium on May 23.

The highly-rated former Asante Kotoko combative midfielder has impressed heavily for the Elche Youth team, where has played in every single game all season.

He is among a number of foreign-based players who will be called up into the team as the country seeks a comfortable win in the first leg ahead of the reverse fixture in Brazzaville.

The Black Meteors advanced to this stage after a 7-1 aggregate win over Liberia- with both legs being played in Ghana.

The winner will face Nigeria in July in the final qualifying round where seven countries will advance to join hosts Senegal for the tournament.

The top three teams will represent Africa at the 2016 Olympic Games men’s football tournament in Rio de Janeiro.

Ashantigold would welcome John Mensah back ‘home’ with open arms, says club chief Kudjoe Fianoo  FIFA.com News

John Mensah

John Mensah

Ashantigold would welcome John Mensah back to the club with open arms, says chief executive Kudjoe Fianoo.

The miners have been linked with a sensational swoop for the Ghana defender, who is currently a free agent after leaving Slovakian side Nitra FC.

Though no official contact has been made for the intelligent centre-back, Ashantigold chief executive Kudjoe Fianoo has revealed the club would welcome him back ‘home’.

“It is not true that we have agreed a deal with former Ghana captain John Mensah, it is just a rumour but if he really wants to play for us he is welcome and it will be great to have him back” Fianoe told Peace FM.

“He is a good player with great experience, he started from here and it is through he went to Europe so he will always have a place in our heart”.

Born in Obuasi, Mensah started his football career with Ashantigold before playing for European clubs such as Sunderland, Lyon, Rennes, Genoa, Chievo, Modena and Cremones.

Moses Armah: Medeama president did not leave Black Stars management committee role due to Muntari’s fracas  FIFA.com News

Sulley Muntari and Moses Armah clashed in June 2014

Sulley Muntari and Moses Armah clashed in June 2014

Medeama president Moses Armah has revealed the reason for quitting the Black Stars management committee role, denying claims the spat with Sulley Muntari accounted for his exit.

The highly-respected football administrator left the role after Ghana’s wrecked World Cup campaign where an infamous row between himself and Muntari dominated the headlines.

The AC Milan midfielder attacked him during a meeting to address an appearance fee row in Brazil, leading to the suspension of the combative midfielder.

After almost a year since the incident, the Medeama president has revealed he decided to quit to focus on his private business.

“I left the Black Stars and I am not involved in any of the national teams not because of the slap from Sulley Muntari” Armah told Peace FM.

“I have lots of businesses, I have a club and I am working on what will bring me more money. My personal jobs come ahead of all other things”.

Armah has not been involved with the Black Stars after the unfortunate incident and has been focusing on building his team.

U20 World Cup: Ghana U20 defender Ntim wants teammates to build on big Qatar friendly win  FIFA.com News

Black Satellites

Black Satellites

Ghana Under-20 defender Emmanuel Ntim expect the team to build on their impressive 4-2 win over Qatar in their opening five-nation tournament in New Zealand ahead of the World Cup later this month.

The Ghanaian showed great chemistry and character to rally from behind to beat the Asian counterpart on Monday.

And defender Emmanuel Ntim expects the team to build on their impressive win ahead of the start of the World showpiece on May 30.

“We are happy with the win but we are still focused on the job at hand,” the Valenciennes defender said.

“The team will keep working very hard for the World Cup.

“With a strong team mentality I am sure we can make it [at the World Cup].”

The Black Satellites, former world champions in 2009, are housed in group B where they will take on Argentina, Panama and Austria.

Eric Bekoe: Ex-Kotoko star agrees deal to join Great Olympics  FIFA.com News

Eric Bekoe

Eric Bekoe

Ex-Kotoko striker Eric Bekoe has reached a deal to join Great Olympics in the second half of the season.

The 26-year-old has concluded negotiations with the Wonder Club and will feature for them during the second round of the campaign.

Bekoe is keen to revive his career after failing to land a deal with Lebanese side Tripoli Athletic Club.

He has confirmed he’s close to joining the Accra-based side.

“God willing I will be playing in the second round of the season. I have reached an agreement with Olympics and will be featuring for them in the second round of the season,” he told Adom Fm.

“The FA opened the second round window for only players who have returned to the country and so Olympics registered me for the second round. So God willing I will be playing for them in the second round.”

If the deal is concretized, Bekoe will  join a growing list of returnees who have wowed the local league and follow the likes of Richard Kingson, Godwin Attram, Dan Quaye and Osei Boateng.

Berekum Arsenals President Yakubu Moro saddened by death of former defender Seth Opoku  FIFA.com News

Seth Opoku passed on Monday

Seth Opoku passed on Monday

President of Berekum Arsenals Alhaji Yakubu Moro is saddened by the death of former player Seth Opoku.

Opoku was electrocuted to death while doing maintenance work on his shop on Monday morning.

The defender featured for Berekum Arsenals for two seasons before joining King Faisal.

His football career however failed to thrive further and eventually settled in Sunyani with his trade as a tailor.

The news of the passing of Seth Opoku leaves President of the Gunners deeply devastated.

“I was very saddened to hear the news of Seth Opoku’s death,” he said.

“He was such a good player for Arsenals – played here for two season I think.

“He was part of the squad that played in our maiden African campaign.

“I am very sad.”

Hearts drawn against Tunisian giants Esperance in CAF Confederation Cup  FIFA.com News

Hearts to face Esperance

Hearts to face Esperance

Hearts of Oak have been handed their toughest test in this season’s CAF Confederation Cup having been drawn against Tunisian giants Esperance du Tunis in the final qualification round.

The Phobians have enjoyed a pretty much easier run so far putting away sides like AS Police, Olympique de Ngor and AC Djoliba.

Hearts will be away to the Tunisian giants in the first leg of the tie which will be played on the weekend of 15-17 May before returning home for the second leg encounter in Accra.

The tie is a repeat of the CAF Champions League final in 2000 where Hearts proved too strong by winning both legs to clinch their first and only Champions Leagie title.

It also means Ghana defender Harrison Afful will be playing against a team from his country in Hearts of Oak – a side he faced often during his time in the Ghana Premier League.

Esperance is one of the sides that dropped at the final hurdle in the Champions League.

Winners of this round will progress into the group phase of Africa’s second tier club competition.

Hearts fears no team, says defender Kwaku Andoh ahead of tough CAF Confederation Cup draw  FIFA.com News

Kwaku Andoh

Kwaku Andoh

Hearts of Oak defender Kwaku Andoh insists the side fears no club as they await the draw for the final qualification stage in the CAF Confederation Cup.

The Phobians are likely to face strong sides such as Al Ahly and Esperance who all dropped at their final hurdle in the CAF Champions League.

Hearts have not really been threatened so far in the CAF Confederation Cup – securing progress against teams like AS Police, Olympique de Ngor and AC Djoliba.

Many fear the Ghanaian side’s fairy tale campaign so far in Africa will end with a tough draw against any of the African elites clubs on Tuesday.

But defender Kwaku Andoh says the team is poised to handle any side that comes their way.

“We don’t fear Esperance or any other team,” he said.

“We are also Hearts of Oak and are big in our own way.

“There is no way we fear any side. Our focus is to get into the group stage which means we must beat some of the best sides in Africa if need be.”

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