Head coach of Ghana Division One League side Heart of Lions, Salifu Fatawu, says he is keen on returning the Kpando-based side to elite football next season.
Fatawu took over the coaching role prior to the beginning of the 2022/23 Division One League (DOL) on a one-year deal with an option to extend.
Since he resumed his role, the former Premier League campaigners are yet to lose a game in eight matches played, a feat the outspoken gaffer attributed to his philosophy, style and how he is developing the team to be a formidable side.
Speaking to the Times Sports on Thursday, Coach Fatawu – who is a CAF Licence A holder, described his new role as a ‘work in process’ because of his huge interest in player development.
According to him, he brought in few players to occupy some vacant positions and the players have been very co-operative and steadily adapted to his style.
“I only brought in some few players to occupy some vacant positions in the team. I’m the kind of coach who is very patient with the development of young players; so I have designed programmes that can help adapt my style. Though it has not been easy, I must say the players have been co-operative and stuck to my style,” he said.
“The target is to qualify the club and we know we won’t get it on a silver platter, so we are working hard to maintain the record.”
Speaking on his journey to Heart of Lions, the former Swedru All Blacks tactician said his exploits from his former club caught the eyes of the technical handlers of the Black Satellites (Under-20) who named him as an assistant to Karim Zito – where he formed a strong bond with the Dr Randy Abbey, Chairman of the team.
“I joined the national team from Swedru All Blacks where I worked under the Chairmanship of Dr Randy Abbey, who doubles as the President of Heart of Lions expressed interest in me and I fought myself here.”
Quizzed on his side’s chances and if any of the 15 other clubs are threats, the ‘sweat merchant’ said: “At the moment, we occupy the top spot with six points ahead of the second-placed team which shows that our zone is very tough and open. We will continue to maintain the lead until the end of the season; but then all the clubs are favourites for the Premier league.”
Fatawu was instrumental in the national U-20 team that won gold in the A tournament in Mauritania in 2021 and has been retained as one of the assistants to former Hearts of Oak trainer, Samuel Boadu, who replaced Karim Zito as the new Black Satellites Coach.
Lions last participated in top-flight football after the 2015 season, but have kept eight cleans sheets in the 2022/23 campaign before the league went on hold for the World Cup, having won six and drawn two.
The two-time GHALCA Top-4 winners will resume their mandate at home in a Round of 32 MTN FA Cup clash with Unity Stars FC before squaring off with Susubiribi in the DOL match-day 9 clash a week after.
BY LINUS SIAW NARTEY