The fastest growing grassroots club in Manchester named after EK Afranie

Published on: 30 July 2021

Coach Hene Sports Club, named after the late famous Ghana coach Emmanuel Kwasi Afranie, is one of East Manchester's fastest growing grassroots clubs.

The Sports Club, led by the renowned Coach's son, Emmanuel Afranie Jnr, has over 200 kids enrolled in less than a year. It was established largely to help keep youngsters healthy while Covid-19 denied them so much, and it tries to make football accessible and cheap.

No one expected hundreds of additional children to join Afranie Jnr's boys while a coach was observing them play during the pandemic.

“It was meant to be a one-off thing, the boys asked if they could bring their mates, and we said yeah, a few people saw us and said can we join in, now what started with my three kids have over 200 kids registered here,” he said.

Emmanuel Kwasi Afranie, his late father, was the manager of the Black Stars and is most remembered for leading Ghana to the 2001 World Youth Championship, where he discovered players like Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, Derek Boateng, John Pantsil, and John Mensah.

In the Black Stars' first two World Cup qualifying matches, the players formed the team's backbone.

He was the head coach of numerous Ghana Premier League clubs, including Hearts of Oak (1997) and Asante Kotoko (1998), and won the league with both (2005).

After seeing his father provide chances to children from low-income neighborhoods, Emmanuel wanted to do the same, and he is grateful to his father for the accomplishments the children have made at the club.

I didn’t see what a great guy he was until he died. I lost my dad in 2016, and then I realised: wow, what a guy! So, what we are doing here, I believe he should take the credit for it,” he said.

Scouts from clubs like Manchester City, Manchester United, and Liverpool have all been to Afranie Jnr's training camp to observe the players, speak with them, and support them

Niall Haywood, the team's coach, claims that they have discovered and picked up potential talent that is being developed.