‘We will focus on welfare of player’s and technical crew’
By Tasie Theodore
Chief Chibuzo Otuemela, the newly appointed President of Heartland Football Club of Owerri has affirmed that the improved welfare of the players and their technical crew will be the hallmark of his administration.
Otuemela disclosed this in Owerri on Wednesday while unveiling the club’s new jerseys to sport journalists and the leadership of the team supporters club at the Ikemba Ojukwu Centre, New Owerri, temporarily office of the club.
He said that the essence is to motivate the team in its vision and mission of bouncing back to the Nation’s Premier League at the end of the current football season noting that the club’s relegation to Nigeria Professional division I league is not the end of the road.
The President also reported that apart from the new jerseys which they imported from Europe, his administration has equally acquired ultra modern sporting kits that would enhance the performances of the players.
Otuemela further revealed that as part of his management’s strategic efforts to succeed, the club has entered into a mutual business partnership with Poluspur FC of Turkey and Hero Stars Express Agent.
He enjoined all the stakeholders of the club for their prayers and unalloyed confidence re-assuring that the club has been rebranded for greater results.
Heartland FC is a Nigerian football club based in Owerri, the Imo State Capital. Founded in 1976 as the Spartans FC of Owerri, they play their home games at Dan Anyiam Stadium. Until their very shocking 17th place showing and consequent relegation in 2016, they were one of two teams in the top flight that had never been relegated from the premier division in the local Nigerian football scene. They now face an epic task of returning to winning ways.
And in a related development, Mr. Iyke Igboananwa, an Owerri-based renowned sports participant and administrator has attributed the recent dwindling of Imo State in sporting activities to poor and lack of sporting facilities.
Igboananwa who is also a football referee and sponsor of various boxing tournaments in the state expressed this worry on Thursday when the newly elected leadership of Imo State chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) led by Mr. Ifeanyi Emesonwum paid him a courtesy call at his country home in Orji, Owerri North Council Area of the state.
He recalled how he attracted the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria in 2015 to conduct their national trials and trainings in Imo State believing that his inspiration, motivations and Owerri City gave the team the needed good luck that made them to lift the under 17 World Cup in Chile.
The Sports Administrator who is also the son of late Mr. Kelvin Chima Okeigboananwa (a.k.a Dangerous Cat), the world class boxing coach resident in Aba that trained and brought to lime light Mr. Dick Tiger Ihemtuge and Late Hogan Bassey King who retired from boxing in 70s as World Middle and Lighter Weight and World Feather Weight Champions respectively.
Youthful Igboananwa who titled his interactions with the sports journalists as: Save The Soul of Sports in Imo state called on the state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha to declare a state of emergency on the subject of the state’s sporting facilities and activities noting that sports was indeed big business, globally.
This he also considered as a strategic measure to revamp the state’s poor and moribund sporting facilities and activities assuring that if the state takes the right steps, he has the capacity to bring the Super Eagles of Nigeria for a training tour in the state.
As a means of immortalizing his late father who he said contributed immensely in the growth and development of boxing as a professional game in Nigeria, this Patron of Imo State Boxing Association said, he has advanced plans to donate and sponsor a Boxing Belt in honour of his father who died last year.
He equally expressed dismay over the relegation of Heartland Football Club of Owerri. According to him: “this football club is synonymous with the Imo State identity. And with its fantastic track record, it is unfair to kill the spirit of Heartland among the Igbo fans. Heartland’s relegation has killed the spirit of football enthusiasm in Eastern Nigeria, for me, I am not a fan of any foreign club, because I see that as another neo-colonialism,” he pointed out.
Heartland FC of Owerri