Accra Hearts of Oak has parted company with head coach, Kenichi Yatsuhatsi with just a week to the commencement of the second round of the 2015/16 Ghana Premier League (GPL).
The Phobians are therefore faced with the tough task of finding a replacement for the Japanese-American trainer who assumed the reins of the club six months ago. Until that is done, the team’s technical responsibilities will rest on the shoulders of Kenichi’s assistant and former player of the club, Yaw Preko.
Despite the several interpretations given the latest development, the Phobians insist it was not an outright sack as reported in a section of the media but accepted a mutual agreement by the two.
Hackman Aidoo, the Administrative Manager of the club in a statement late yesterday indicated that the club took advantage of the option presented in a 25-day leave of absence requested by Kenichi to press the ‘sack’ button. Kenichi had sent a letter to the Phobians, requesting a 25-day leave of absence to enable him attend a coaching course outside Ghana.
In that respect, according to Mr. Aidoo’s letter, Kenichi gave the club the option to mutually terminate his contract if it finds his other option of leaving his position vacant till he comes back unacceptable.
According to the statement, after a careful assessment of the options given by Kenichi, the Board of Directors concluded that it would be too risky to leave the club without a head coach for the length of time and the number of matches that Kenichi would be away.
With the reverse fixtures starting this weekend and considering the number of days Kenichi would be away, the Phobians would play five matches without a head coach, a situation the Phobians found unacceptable, going for the option to terminate the deal and find a substantive replacement.
The statement assured supporters of the club that plans have been put in place for a replacement.
Despite the tumultuous nature of their relationship, Kenichi is credited for the swift upturn of the Phobians fortunes, having inherited a disjointed side that struggled to survive relegation the previous season.
The Japanese trainer had many problems with the club’s management, the height of which is the infamous Facebook post that exposed matters that the club had hoped to remain confidential.
What appeared to have delayed his sack was the fear of financial ramification but the latest development presents the Phobians a safer ground to axe the originator of the ‘Sushie’ football the Phobians were used to.
By Andrew Nortey