Football Sports

Heartland FC quakes

All is not well in the fold of Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, side Heartland of Owerri which has resulted in the once dreaded Naze Millionaires fluctuating performance in the ongoing 2019/2020 domestic top flight campaign.

The crux of the club’s woes centered on the intrigues and power play amongst the top hierarchy.

Governor Emeka Ihedioha on July 5, 2019 appointed Barrister Charles Ezekwem as Chairman of a five-man interim board of Heartland FC.

The appointment letter which emanated from the office of the Secretary to Government of Imo State and signed by the Chief of Staff, Chris Okewulonu, named Ifeanyi Chukwudi as General Manager of the club in line with NFF/LMC guidelines as head of the administration of the club.

But the board later announced an indefinite suspension of the General Manager, citing ‘insubordination and financial mismanagement’.

Godson Onyemaobi, who was earlier appointed as board member has been elevated to the status of GM as Chukwudi Ifeanyi’s replacement.

There are claims that the club was ill prepared for the season despite the governor releasing N46m for recruitment and N13m for preseason camping at Nanka.

There is also allegation that the club has too many players, officials and technical staff on its payroll.

But chairman of the interim board, Charles Ezekwem admitted the club received N46m take off grant as well as N13m for preseason.

“We registered only 35 players, not 42”, Ezekwem said.

“Our technical department is not over bloated. What we have is the required number which includes the coaches and the backroom staff.

“The same applies to the management staff.

“We met most of the staff on ground when we came on board”, Ezekwem explained.

Heartland’s preseason looked lopsided given their poor start to the season and continued struggle in the campaign so far despite Governor Ihedioha releasing N46m for the club’s preparations.

The Heartland boss admitted that governor Ihedioha has never starved the club of funds, saying His Excellency released N46m to commence preparation for the season.

“His Excellency has been supporting the club financially. He gave us N46m take off grant which we used to recruit and clear players, offset debts we met on ground as well as other sundry club needs.

“It may also interest you to note that he gave us N13m for our preseason camping at Nanka, Anambra State. We camped the players in Nanka before the start of the season though we had to cut short their stay there because of exigencies”.

Heartland are 13th on the NPFL standings with 15 points from four wins, three draws and five losses.

Heartland are understood to have listed no fewer than 15 players for sack as they hope to bring in new players to bolster the squad during the winter transfer window this January.

The players and officials are currently placed on half salary.

The measure seems to have woken the team from slumber as it defeated Oriental rivals, Enugu Rangers 2-1 on Sunday.

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