A hero passes on: Today in history: Hearts coach dies after collapsing during game

On 8th Jjune, 2005, the former Ghana international defender collapsed after Hearts beat Liberty yesterday and later died at the Ridge Hospital.

He was rushed to hospital after collapsing during the Ghanaian champions’ 1-0 premier league win over Liberty Professionals.

Ofei Ansah was reported to have visited the hospital earlier on Tuesday ahead of the epic match with a cardio related illness but managed to join the team’s bench to guide his side to victory.

Assistant coach for the previous nine years, Ansah had taken over in a caretaker capacity from Archibald Lamptey when the 2005 season was only one match old. He amassed five wins in seven games to put Hearts one point clear of their perennial rivals Asante Kotoko.

Ansah spent 13 years with Hearts as a player and assisted former head coach Jones Attuquayefio to conquer Africa in the Champions League in 2000 and the Super Cup in the same year.

He was born on June 6 1955 to Mr David Ansah and Madam Florence Quao both from Accra. His potential as a talented footballer was discovered early when he stared for the colts’ teams like Salami Aces, Falcom Dwellers and Bukum Young Hearts. Having showed his great talent in his colts’ days Ofei Ansah joined the junior team of Hearts, Auroras, then under the guidance of the late Lantei Lamptey. He was promoted to the senior team of Hearts in the 1972-73 season, and this prompted him to put aside his tailoring career for football. He was part of the Hearts of Oak team that reached the final of the Africa Champions Cup twice in 1977 and 1979, but they lost on both occasions.

“Afro Joe” or “Baby Face” as known in his playing days was a dead ball specialist fetching many goals with his fierce free kicks. He rose through the ranks again at Hearts and broke into the senior national team, Black Stars where he faced a stiff competition from Charles Oppong, Awuley Quaye, PSK Paha and Haruna Yusif among others for the left and right hand back positions. But the hard work of Ofei Ansah won him a regular place on the Stars team and was part of the history making Stars team that won the African cup of Nations for keep in 1978. Later in his career he played for Kumapim and some other clubs before he returned to Hearts to up an assistant coach role in the 1990’s.

He was survived by three wives and four children.

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