Accra Hearts of Oak coach Kenichi Yatsuhahi has told 3FM Sports he is leaving the club with great memories but says he is unhappy with the circumstances under which he is leaving the club.
Hearts terminated the Japanese’s contract after he requested for a 25-day leave to attend a coaching course and suggested his assistant could stay in charge for that period.
Hearts said in a statement that the coach had given them the option of terminating the contract in order to free him from his commitments.
He spoke to Michael Oti Adjei.
Q. Accra Hearts of Oak say you are parting ways by mutual consent. Is that correct?
A. That is correct. We have separated by mutual consent. We agreed to part ways. I wish I could stay and I really wanted to stay. I told the MD I had a prior commitment in July 2016 but he just said ‘Ok’ because by that time the league would be over but it delayed. I cannot change what I had committed to already but also didn’t want to put Hearts in a bad situation. I wish I could stay. I have two great assistant coaches who in my opinion could fill the spot while I was away. The other option was for the club to replace me now and they took that.
Q. There are those who just don’t believe this story. They are convinced this is the culmination of long-term problems.
I respect the club’s decision. The fact is that I won’t be here for 25 days or five games and that is something the club has no control over. Someone said “Only 25 days and five games”. Someone also said that is too much. I have to respect that. There are two sides to it.
Q. What memories are you leaving Accra Hearts of Oak with?
A. I am leaving with a lot of memories but I like to stay with the positives. The supporters have been fantastic. They have been great. The club that won the continental championship have not won anything since 2009. We have been great. I don’t know if we would win it but we were surely on our way to go back to where this club was before. Everywhere we went the club’s fans were there. People were just very friendly and just supported me.
The players were outstanding. The quality of our players may not be the best. But we were the best as far as effort and teamwork was concerned. That is why we were top for so long and that is why we are only two points off the top but we are overachieving for the talent we have. We deserve it for the hardwork that we have put in and for all those fantastic games.
I have had two outstanding assistant coaches in Nassamu and Preko. Without them we would not have finished where we finished.
Q. Where do you think Hearts of Oak would finish now that you are leaving?
A. Anything I would say at this point would be meaningless. I hope they would do well.
Q. There were a lot of reports of fall-outs with the club hierarchy and management
Majority are just false accusations and baseless rumours. I walked out of a meeting once in the first week in April. That is a fact. Other than that I never walked out again, never broke furniture and never slammed a door. Those accusations are false. I respect everyone as much as they respect.
Q. You were questioned a lot when you arrived here. Do you feel you proved many of those critics wrong in your time here?
A. Criticisms I received when I arrived here were fair in my opinion. I never had the experience of coaching any side at a professional level so it was fair criticism. I think I proved many of them wrong but I cannot deny that I have a lot more to prove. I am bitter that I cannot do that this is not something I cannot control.
Q. Is there a chance we would see you in Ghana football again after the 25 days, sometime later or sooner?
A. I won’t say when but I am sure it is possible that I would coach another side anywhere. It could be in America, Asia, somewhere in Africa but I can only decide when the right offer comes.
Q. And if the right offer came from a Ghanaian club, would you take it?
I would consider it if it comes including from Ghana but I won’t get into specific clubs.