Charles Asampong Taylor says winning the maiden CAF Confederation Cup trophy with Asante Kotoko over arch-rivals Hearts of Oak in 2005 would have been a befitting legacy for a club he had adored from infancy.
“Kotoko should have won the CAF Confederation Cup in 2005 but German coach Hans Dieter Schmidt virtually handed the trophy to Hearts on a silver platter.
“We lost the trophy from the bench due to his technical and tactical bankruptcy. To me, it was one of the worst misfortunes that happened in my playing career and I still bemoan that lost opportunity,” a disappointed Taylor revealed during an exclusive interview with Graphic Sports Online.
After holding Hearts to a 1-1 draw in the first leg at the Accra Sports Stadium, Hearts scored an 81st-minute equaliser through Lawrence Adjah Tetteh to cancel Charles Taylor’s opener for Kotoko in the 53rd minute of the second leg in Kumasi.
And when the penalty shootout was invoked to determine the winner, Hearts converted eight kicks against Kotoko’s seven to clinch the enviable trophy.
Recalling what transpired during the final, Taylor, who was surprisingly substituted after scoring Kotoko’s goal, noted that “Adjah Tetteh, who scored Hearts equaliser, had remained in defence throughout the period I was on the field because he knew what I could do if he left me behind him, while defenders such as Dan Quaye and Amankwah Mireku never crossed the centre line.”
“But as soon as I was substituted, they all surged forward, earned a corner kick and Tetteh scored from the resultant kick. As a coach, you should always be tactical in your approach because a match could be won or lost depending on a particular player.
“That explains why a good player is allowed in a match even if he is performing below average. Coaches keep such players because they know the player can turn things around at the least opportunity and that their absence give more room for opponents to operate from different angles,” a livid Taylor revealed.
When questioned how he felt after he was substituted, he said “I was very devastated because if I had remained on the field, there was no way Hearts could have scored, let alone win against us in Kumasi. I can, therefore, say as a fact that it was Dieter Schmidt who won the Confederation Cup for Hearts in Kumasi on a silver platter. The match was lost from the bench,” he stressed.
Taylor said a day after the match, the German coach called on him to apologise for wrongly substituting him during the match. “He (Coach Schmidt) told me he didn’t know why he did what he did but since he was the coach and was responsible for everything on the field, I told him not to worry about it.
“But deep down my heart, I was very disappointed for not winning such a trophy with Kotoko to leave a legacy with the club I had adored from infancy,” he confessed.