Jones Attuquayefio, the legendary coach who led Hearts of Oak to Caf Champions League glory in 2000, has died.
He was 70, having celebrated the milestone last year.
The former coach has been battling with throat cancer which rendered him very frail after he had spent virtually all his fortune on treatment.
A family source confirmed the news Tuesday morning, May 12, 2015. Former national Goalkeeper Abukari Damba, who once worked under the late coach told TV3 Jones had served his country well and remains an icon to coaching in Ghana.
Jones Attuquayefio was born on October 18 1944 and he came to the attention of national team selectors whilst turning out for Real Republicans in the early sixties.
Together with the likes of now retired footballers like Osei Kofi and Frank Odoi, he played for the Academicals and following Ghana’s elimination at the quarterfinals of the 1964 Olympic Games football tournament in Japan, he began to represent the Black Stars.
As a fresh faced 21-year old, Attuquayefio scored twice as Ghana thrashed the then Congo-Leopoldville 5-2 in the Group phase of the 1965 African Nations Cup and he was thus part of the squad that won the trophy by beating hosts Tunisia in the final.
He then moved to Great Olympics, following the disbanding of Real Republicans in 1966 and that was the start of a long love relationship with the ‘Oly Dade’ boys.
He inspired the club to win the Ghana league title in 1970, by which time he had represented Ghana in two further African Nations Cup tournaments; in 1968 and 1970 and each time Ghana finished second.
His goals took Great Olympics to the 1971 African Champions Cup semifinals, before elimination by then defending champions Asante Kotoko. He suffered a serious injury during the second leg in Kumasi and even though he played on for three more years, he never really recovered his old form after that game.
He became the head coach of Great Olympics in 1974, after helping the club win the league title again that year, and held that position for 10 years. Towards the end of his reign, he became the Vice Chairman of the Ghana Football Association in 1982; a position he held for two years. Attuquayefio also won the FA cup with Great Olympics in 1983.
After working with various national teams, he had a stint in La Cote D’Ivoire, but it was in Obuasi that his tactical skills came to the fore. He won the 1994 and 1995 Ghana League titles with Obuasi Goldfields and laid the foundation for then assistant, Herbert Addo to take the team to the CAF Champions League final in 1997.
Attuquayfio became the head coach of the Black Starlets and with a team that contained the likes of Michael Essien, Stephen Oduro, Michael Osei and Bernard Dong Bortey, he won bronze at the 1999 FiFA Under 17 World Cup in New Zealand. By then he had taken over at Hearts of Oak and won two league titles already.
2000 was undoubtedly a year of crowning glory for the head coach, who had overseen a building of one of the greatest Hearts of Oak teams in recent times.
Under his tutelage, the club reached the final of the CAF Champions League and secured a 2-1 win over Esperance in Tunis despite the sending off of Amankwaa Mireku.
A 3-1 win in the second leg in Accra saw Hearts of Oak crowned African champions and it also saw Attuquayefio voted Coach of the year on the African continent.
He also guided the club to Super Cup success with a 2-0 win over Zamalek. He was asked to handle the Black Stars and after a 1-3 loss to Liberia at home in a World Cup qualifier, he famously used a team made up virtually of Hearts of Oak players and drew 0-0 with a star-studded Nigeria in Accra.
He left Hearts of Oak for a stint with Liberty Professionals, after which he was named the head coach of the Benin national team.
Attuquayefio guided Benin to its first ever African Nations Cup tournament in Tunisia in 2004 and returned for one last hurrah with Hearts of Oak.
He was in charge when Hearts of Oak defeated archrivals Asante Kotoko to win the inaugural Confederations Cup in early 2005.
He was made the Black Meteors head coach but failed to qualify the team for the 2008 Olympics, but that proved a small blot on a distinguished career.
Nicknamed: Paa Asmara(Asmara is now the capital city of Eritrea, but in 1968 when Ethiopia hosted the AFCON 1968, Asmara was part of Ethiopia and the AFCON was staged in two major cities, that is Addis Ababa and Asmara. Due to the exploits of Jones Attoquayefio in the 1968 AFCON he was nicknamed Asmara the city that hosted the Black Stars in the three group stage matches and the semi finals of the 1968 AFCON.
1962 – 65 – A member of Ghana’s students international football team and at the same time a member of the Ghana Academicals team.
1962 –63 – Played for Accra Standfast F/C, a 1st first division team
1963 –66 – Ghana Republicans F/C (Osagyefo’s own club), which was disbanded after Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in February 1966.With Republicans, he won two F.A cups in 163/64 and 1964/65.
1966-67 Corners Stones ( Had a short stint with them)
1967 –74 – Accra Gt. Great Olympics F/C- He captained Olympics to win their first ever league title in 1970 and led Olympics to their semi final clash with Kotoko in the African Champions’ Cup now the CAF Champions league in 1971. The 1st leg ended 1-1 at the Accra Sports Stadium. Attuquayefio scored first for Olympics before it was equalized by Abukari for Kotoko. The 2nd leg went 1-0 in favour of Kotoko at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kumasi. This tie was the 1st time a CAF organised competition witnessed a clash between two clubs from the same country and it was in the 2nd leg hat Attuquayefio, had a career threatening injury in the 32nd minute, which sidelined him for a year and even caused him to lose his position in the national team.
1965 –72 – A member of the team that won the African Cup of Nations in 1965 and was also among the squad that participated in the finals of the African Cup in 1968 and 1970. Before 2008 AFCON he was one of the three players to have appeared in three African nations cup finals. He played the 1965, 1968 and 1970 final games, but won that of the 1965 in Tunisia.
1982-83 – Rose through the ranks of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to the position of Vice Chairman of the Association under the Chairmanship of Zac Bentum
1995 –97 – Deputy General Secretary, GFA
1974 –84 – Started with Accra Great Olympics where he was the head coach, after he had been sent to Brazil for training course.
1985 –87 – Assistant coach of the senior national team, the Black Stars
1988 –90 – Coached Okwawu United before moving to Cote d’ Ivoire to handle Stade Abidjan.
1990 –95 –Goldfields sent him to Germany for a coaching course, before he returned to manage Goldfields Football club and Academy. He helped them to win the 1st ever professional league in Ghana, 1993/94.
1996 – He qualified the Olympics team for Atlanta 1996, before he assisted coach Sam Arday in the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.
1998 –99 – Coached the National Under-17 team, the Black Starlets to win the African Under-17 Cup in Guinea before winning bronze at the World Under-17 tournament in New Zealand in 1999.
1998 –2001 – He was appointed by Hearts of Oak and guided them to win four League titles and two Knockout trophies.
2000 — Won the CAF Champions League to give Hearts its first and only continental title in their 93 years existence. In the same year he was engaged by the Black Stars ahead of the 2002 world cup qualifiers, but was later fired, after some mixed results.
2001 — He became the first Ghanaian coach to win the CAF Super Cup after the team succeeded in beating Zamalek at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kumasi. As a result of these achievements, Hearts appeared 8th in the CNN top 10 clubs in the world in the 2001.
2002 — Left Hearts of Oak and joined Dansoman-based Liberty Professionals briefly.
2003-04 — He was named coach of the Benin National team and qualified them to their first Africa Nation’s Cup finals in Tunisia(2004). After the tournament, he left Benin for Ghana claiming that the Benin FA had failed to fulfill its financial obligations to him as stated in his contract with them.
2005- He guided Hearts of Oak to win the maiden edition of the CAF Confederations cup( 2004) against Kotoko in 2005
2005-2011- Technical Director of Liberty Professionals
INDIVIDUAL HONOURS :
Member of the Order of Volta (Civil Division Ghana). The award was given to him with other sportsmen like Ibrahim Sunday, Mike Ashey, Rose Hart, A.O Lawson by the NRC government led by I.K Acheampong, on 6th March, 1973.
The Sunday Mirror singled him out and stated Jones Attuquayefio honoured as “Sir” and that is how come the title “Sir” is always added to his name.
He was named the African Coach of the year in 2000 for leading Hearts to win their first Continental trophy and also won the SWAG Coach of the year award.
He was again awarded the Nana Kumi Gyamfi’s Best Coach Award for the 2000/01 in the Star/F.A awards.
By: ghnewsnow/ with files from FootyGhana