Hearts of Oak captain, Fatawu Mohammed has refuted claims by former skipper Thomas Abbey that the Phobians lost the 2017 MTN FA Cup trophy to rivals Kotoko because the club failed to pay their salaries and bonuses for three months.
According to Thomas Abbey who got the consolation goal for the Phobians after the hattrick from Saddick Adams, they refused to train prior to the match and that had an impact on the game against the Porcupine Warriors which they eventually lost.
In an interview with Angel FM, he said“I can say that before the match, everything favored Hearts. We were supposed to win but there were very serious problems in the team. We had not been paid for three months and winning bonuses from seven matches were also not paid.”
“I can tell you that, before the final, we were not even training. We were protesting so we will go to the training grounds and only jog for twenty minutes and go back home.”
“Most of the players had their contracts expired so we knew the match was the last opportunity to demand our pay. Not surprising that we lost in the first half. I can say it was what led to the defeat.”He added.
However, Fatawu Mohammed who was an integral member of the team told GhanaWeb in an exclusive interview that there is no iota of truth in what Thomas Abbey has been feeding to the public.
According to him, they rather proposed to the management that since the MTN FA Cup final was the last game of the season, their monthly salary should be given to them ahead of the game. A proposal that he said was rejected by the management of the club.
“We were not being owed by Hearts of Oak so if my former captain(Thomas Abbey) will say that the club was owing us when we were coming to play Kotoko in the 2017 MTN FA Cup final then it is not true.”
“For me, I would have seconded it if he had said that Hearts of Oak was owing us in that season but not before the final match. In the Ghana Premier League, the club will make sure that they have settled every arrears with you before they even play Kotoko.”
“So if a senior man can say that we lost that particular match because the club was owing us three months’ salaries, then it is not true. We rather suggested to the management that they should pay us the salary of the month of the match because the final was our last of the season which they told us to concentrate on and win the trophy. That was the only concern we had before the said match.”
“Also it is never true that we boycotted training before the final. I remember Tony Baffoe even told us that when you are a footballer, you don’t quit training because your club is owing you. To him we the players should concentrate on football while the PFAG fight for our interest.”Fatawu told GhanaWeb.
Fatawu also hinted that maybe Thomas made those comments because he is bitter that the club didn’t give him the opportunity to relaunch his carer.
“If he has a problem with Hearts of Oak, then that’s up to him but he shouldn’t be saying things that never happened. You can call any of the players who were with the team at that time and they will tell you the same things I have said. You left Hearts of Oak after the 2017 season, why did you wait till this time to say something like this if you are telling the truth. Is it because you wanted to come and you didn’t get a chance to return to the team?