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Ex-Hearts chief Harry Zakour launches stinging attack on 'backstabber' Togbe Afede over lack of ambition

Published on: 09 November 2017
Face off: Harry Zakkour (left) and Togbe Afede (right)

Celebrated ex-Hearts of Oak chairman Harry Zakkour has issued a stinging slap down to Togbe Afede XIV, labeling the majority shareholder 'backstabber' following the side's spectacular downward spiral since he took charge of the team.

The latest stinging potshot from the experienced football administrator turned politician, will further stoke the animosity between the two men.

Zakkour, nicknamed 'Millennium Chairman' for the influential role he played in the club’s success story in 2000, has repeatedly criticised the traditional ruler - who controls nearly 70 percent of Hearts - for his lack of ambition and direction.

The owner of the club Togbe Afede, thought to be one of the richest men in Ghana, is already reeling under pressure from previous management members of the club to relinquish his hold of the club as he has not been able to fork out the money needed to retain and attract the best players.

The crisis-hit Ghanaian giants have not won a trophy in the last nine years - to pile more pressure on the businessman who appears to be living far from reality.

Zakkour, claims he brought Togbe Afede - who is the President of the National House of Chiefs, to the club but has shockingly sidelined past management members who masterminded the side's impregnability after buying majority shares.

“I brought Togbe to Hearts of Oak. I remember the days he wanted to go to the stadium and watch Hearts matches, I gave him my VIP ticket to go and watch the team. And today, I’m a bad person to him,” he fumed on Kumasi-based Adehyeε FM

“He stabbed me in my back,” he added. “…but I don’t want to fight him. I only wish him the best of luck.”

The resentful Harry Zakour explained further that Togbe Afede does not consult anyone in his decision making, an act that has thronged the club into the current crisis situation.

“He doesn’t call us and doesn’t want us to come near to the team.

“I remember there was a game involving Kotoko and Hearts in Accra. I wanted to promise the team but he told his people not to allow me near the team.

“I vowed not to go close to the team from that day. I stopped going to the stadium. I felt very bad because I had achieved a lot with the club and did not deserve that treatment,” Zakour narrated.

Zakour who led Hearts to win their first ever CAF Champions League in 2000 and the CAF Super Cup in 2001 bemoans the neglect of all former executives of the club, a development he sees as a major factor in the club’s sorry state.

“Alhaji Hearts is not in a good mood, Nii Ayi Bonte and all the old management members have been taken out of the team. We were good friends but he (Togbe) hardly takes advice,” he added.

Troube is looming for Ghanaian giants as star players Thomas Abbey, Vincent Atingah and Kwame Kizito are among EIGHT players whose contracts have expired and are set to quit the club on a free transfer.

The former African champions were on the brink of being ejected from the top-flight after being caught up in relegation dogfight for most part of the second round in 2015 to underline the disastrous reign of the majority shareholder.

Togbe Afede XIV has come under huge pressure following the sad state of the club, struggling for 8 years consistently to land a finger on the Ghana Premier League trophy without success.

The club recently endured a painful defeat in the hand of their bitterest rivals Asante Kotoko in the 2017 FA Cup final, losing by 3-1.

Togbe's reign has seen mass recruitment and mass release with payment of salaries and and bonuses for the players and the technical team being a major headache for him.

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