After Herbert Addo confirmed on Thursday that Hearts will be missing four key players in Sunday’s Caf Confederations Cup game with Mali’s Djoliba, what are the club’s options?
The team’s quest to advance to the playoff round of the competition has been hit with impending absences from these four: Robin Gnagne (defender, captain), Isaac Oduro (left-back), Joseph Owusu Bempah (right-back) and goalkeeper Seidu Mutawakilu.
Hearts, who lead Djoliba 2-1 on aggregate after one leg will be losing these four to suspension (Gnagne, Oduro) and national team duty (Bempah, Mutawakilu, Black Satellites on a pre-World Cup tour in New Zealand).
“Of course it can affect the performance of a team. Even when one player is out, it does. We need to bring in proper replacements which we believe we have and we are working on that ahead of Sunday,” coach Herbert Addo says.
Watchers say that at right back Fatau Mohammed will play in Bempah’s place while South African import Shaun October will feature at left-back in Oduro’s stead.
This will not be new to Hearts, who saw the duo play both legs in the preliminary round against Benin’s AS Police.
For Gnagne’s replacement, it is looking like Kweku Andoh will be chosen as he is slightly ahead of Vincent Atinga in the pecking order, Joy Sports understand.
Any of them chosen for the central defence role will have Philip Boampong as a partner.
Hearts’ task is to win or a draw to get a place in the next round while Djoliba need a winning margin of two goals to go through.
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Story by Ghana/Joy Sports/Gary Al-Smith
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