Board Chairman of Accra Hearts of Oak, Togbe Afede XIV, has admitted that club legend Mohammed Polo could – and should – have been allowed more time during his last stint as coach of the club.
The dribbling magician returned as coach of the Phobians after the sack of current Asante Kotoko gaffer David Duncan mid-way into the 2013/14 season but was denied a chance of a permanent appointment despite leading the side to place third on the log that season.
The Hearts board chairman in one of his submissions at the 5th Annual General Meeting since the flotation of shares on Wednesday remarked that the poisoned atmosphere into which Polo arrived at the club did not permit his long stay.
“One of my regrets was that we never allowed [Mohammed] Polo the chance to show what he could do. We never allowed our own Polo because people had self-interest,” he lamented.
“You will recall when for good reason the board had to part ways with Duncan, so much noise was made without a good understanding of the causal factors. When subsequently we appointed Polo, again so much noise was made, making Polo’s work very difficult. But let me tell you guys that I have worked with many coaches so far and I can tell that Polo is indeed among the very best. Just that Polo was never allowed to do his work.
“And I will say it any day, Polo is a good coach and can do well if given the chance. Polo is a good coach. Polo, passionate, deep thinker. We enjoyed working with him but there was too much noise in the system that did not allow Polo to succeed.
“Before Polo took over, after 10 matches, we trailed Kotoko by 4 points. At the end of the season after 30 matches, we trailed Kotoko by nine points, meaning from out of the first ten matches, Kotoko led us by 4 points; out of the remaining 20 matches, Kotoko was leading us by 5 points, it means that Polo did relatively well. It is important to put these numbers before all of us so that we can appreciate.
“The Board decision was not a bad decision; it was made in the best interest of Hearts of Oak but Polo had to work under very difficult situations. There were threats to cease our bus, there were attempts to disrupt our training. But who could work well under those difficult circumstances? We never allowed the company to benefit from the best that Polo could have offered,” the Hearts Board Chairman ended.
Polo, after his short stint last year, consistently lamented at the treatment meted out to him when he came in to ‘help’ his boyhood club.