I want to beat Hearts — Kenichi

BY: Benjamin Xornam Glover
Kenichi Yatsuhashi
Kenichi Yatsuhashi

Inter Allies coach Kenichi Yatsuhashi is enjoying his second spell in Ghana football as head coach of Inter Allies, and admits he is relishing a clash with his former club, Accra Hearts of Oak, in the penultimate week of the first round of the Ghana Premier League.

Kenichi was a hugely popular coach when he handled the Phobians two seasons ago and is enjoying a fairly successful stint with Inter Allies who are sixth on the league log and have a date with the Phobians at the Tema Stadium on Wednesday, May 30. That encounter is set to evoke a lot of memories for the Japanese coach, who two seasons ago with Yaw Preko as his assistant, guided hearts to claw back from two goals down to defeat Inter Allies 3-2 at the same venue.

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This time however, there is reversal of roles with Kenichi plotting Hearts’ downfall with the same backroom staff who supported him two seasons ago — Preko and goalkeepers’ trainer Nassamu Yakubu.

After leading Inter allies to beat Berekum Chelsea 1-0 at Tema to record their sixth straight home win, the Japanese took to Twitter to indicate how he was looking forward to the clash with the Phobians.

“Our next home match is against Hearts of Oak after travelling to Wa. Looking forward to having a lot of supporters there.”


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“I am trying to analyse their match to beat them,” he tweeted.

“I will like to beat Hearts of Oak but before that, I have Wa All Stars.

Hearts’ assistant coach, Edward Nii Odoom, took advantage of his team’s postponed game against Aduana last Sunday to spy on the Inter Allies as they played Chelsea. Kenichi was unruffled by the presence of his the Hearts trainer to spy on his team.

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“We do the same thing. I watch their games, they watch our games. It’s a game of analysis,” explained the Japanese calmly, as he heaped a lot of praise on his backroom staff for supporting him to guide the team thus far.

When Kenichi left Hearts for Nigerian side Ifeanyi Ubah, Preko joined him as a coach/physical trainer of the club. Now the duo have reunited at the Tema-based club and will be plotting a famous victory against their former club.

“Yaw Preko is a very good coach. I started coaching here in Ghana with Yaw and Nassam. We did fantastic work. We have since then improved ourselves from there and now we are back together doing a better job at Inter Allies,” Kenichi told the Graphic Sports.

In addition to his role as an assistant coach for Allies, Preko has also been appointed as the assistant coach for the Black Starlets team, a situation which as forced his club to promote  coach Adam Fazazi from the club’s junior side to augment Kenichi’s technical bench.