Premier League champions, Accra Hearts of Oak on Thursday conferred the honour of “Coach of the Century” to their former coach, ‘Sir’ Cecil Jones Attuquayefio.
The honour is in recognition of the immense contribution of the 69-year old who was the tactical brain to the success of the Club and Ghana football in general
Attuquayefio led Hearts to their first continental title, the CAF Champions League in 2000, CAF Super Cup in 2001 and the CAF Confederation Cup in 2005 coupled with a host of domestic triumphs.
The celebrated trainer is also undisputedly regarded as the most successful coach in the history of Ghana’s oldest existing Club.
At an emotionally packed ceremony to confer on him the honour, testimonies came in from all angles from his playing mates, ex-national stars, the former players he has coached, Board and Management members of Hearts and Ghana Football Association (GFA) among others in recognition of the achievements of one of the finest midfielders ever produced in the country.
Commodore Mensah, Board Chairman of Hearts of Oak explained that the award is in admiration of the achievement of the former Black Stars midfielder who had three stints with Hearts dating back 1995.
He added that the honour is also to throw a challenge to the current generation of footballers and coaches to give off their best in the discharge of their duties.
“Jones can be described as the most celebrated coach of a club side in Ghana, especially among the coaches that have worked with Hearts of Oak.
“No Coach in Ghana, before him and till now, has won three (3) CAF Inter-Clubs competition gold medals,” Commodore Mensah said in a citation.
Nii Nortey Dua, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports described Attuquayefio as a great footballer and a successful coach while commending Hearts of Oak for the initiative of honouring him.
Kofi Totobi Quakyi, Board Chairman of the National Communications Authority (NCA) and a staunch Phobian also eulogized Attuquayefio as an excellent player and coach whose contribution to the development of the game remains undisputed.
Commodore Mensah who was assisted by colleague Board members, Members of the Council of Patrons and Management members presented a gold-plated plaque to Attuquayefio and some undisclosed sums of money for his efforts and upkeep.
Dressed in all-white attire, black shoes with a Phobian veil around his neck, coach Attuquayefio thanked the entire Hearts fraternity for the recognition.
“I thank all for the solidarity and affection shown me. The success of a man is not possible without his wife and family,” he responded in a frail voice.
Coach Attuquayefio recalled the role played by the Hearts team of year 2000 as influential in the successes that he chalked.
“My success story was written by the ’64 Battalion’ of Hearts of Oak.”
Attuquayefio, a member of the Black Stars squad that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1965, ironically featured for Hearts of Oak’s city rivals Great Olympics during his playing days.
During his stints with Hearts of Oak, he won four Premier League titles (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001) and two FA Cup titles (1999, 2000).
He was also named the CAF Best Coach in 2001 and guided the Squirrels of Benin to their maiden attempt at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2004.
Coach Attuquayefio who is currently the Technical Director of Liberty Professionals is recuperating from sickness and has not been seen in active coaching for some time now
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