Good morning everyone.
It’s been a very interesting morning. Quite a lot happening regardless of where you’re watching from.
Our major interest however is what happens at the Dan Anyiam tomorrow. Truth be told, it’s not been the best of seasons for our hosts as they currently are in 18th position. I was as shocked as you are now when I first learned of this and this puts the performance tomorrow a must win for them.
We caught up with two of their fans, who share with us just how in the world they arrived at where they are and the concerns from the stands.
Up first is Photojournalist John Paul Nnamdi: (@NPFLLens)
This is not the best of seasons for Heartland FC. The club started this term with majority of the lads who ended last season on the 8th place on the log. Which means no notable acquisition was made to boost the squad. After about 3 games, Bethel Orji was replaced with Alphonsus Dike. Since then we’ve only been able to win 6 games. No away wins and a couple of home loses which has placed the team on the drop zone. During the course of the season one or two additions were made, but no great impact was made.
The club couldn’t win their first two home games and the second was a bitter loss to Oriental Brothers, Abia Warriors. That lame start did not see better improvement as the season unfolded. And then we have not been able to get maximum points from any Oriental side this season. Plus the unacceptable number of home defeats.
So Saturday’s game is more like a decider of our fate in the elite division. We just need to get all the points at stake in all remaining home games and, at least two away wins to be sure of avoiding the drop. Enyimba shouldn’t be expecting a win here. When it comes to Enyimba, Heartland knows how to rise to occasion and for the fact that we are in a dire situation, there’s no negotiation on the three points.
The fans can’t even imagine playing in the lower division. In fact Heartland FC holds a record as one of the two teams never to have been relegated and it’s a record the fans cherish. But their major concern is that the management should do all in its power to motivate the boys.
We remain optimistic that Heartland will avoid the drop. A lot of people think Heartland is a traditional side and what they have achieved over the years should speak for them. Personally, my hope lies in the fact that mathematically it is possible to escape relegation and I have spoken to some of the guys who have vowed to put in their best. They are not even happy about what is happening.
Heartland has had a very turbulent season starting from the goal drought in their first 3 games to the Abia warriors home loss which resulted in the exit of erstwhile Naze millionaires handler Bethel Orji. The introduction of Mr Dike in the team seemed to generate fresh steam as the team managed to score her first goal in Uyo and continued a decent home run but kept stumbling on the road.
Then came the FC Ifeanyi Ubah saga and it’s controversial stories as there was no video evidence to ascertain what really happened. But I think the downturn for Heartland was when the news of poor welfare of the players led to a mass exodus from the team which included long standing team manager Mr. Promise Nwachukwu.
Their inability to purchase during the NPFL midseason window also had a direct effect on the team’s peformance as they have managed only one win in the last 7 matches including a home loss to The flying Antelops of Enugu which has seen them drop to the relegation zone as we seat 18th on the log.
That said, the encounter between The Naze millionaires and The People’s elephant is one of many must win games for the two sides. For Heartland a third home defeat to neighbouring rivals will cause a great dent to her image in the southeast and futher end the hopes of playing in the top flight next season. A loss is just unthinkable for Heartland.
Enyimba on the other hand want to take their pound of flesh as Heartland shared the spoils in the reverse fixture and they have the right man to execute their mission, the former heartland man- Ifeanyi Onuigbo, yet to score for his new employers will be looking to impress on a familiar ground. The two teams are in top shape having won their last home games with a two goal margin.
Heartland have gone through many waters this season as in many other seasons but have consistently had their head over the waters at the end of the day- they have never been relegated.
News also had it that the players engines have been oiled, to what extent I’m not sure but Imo state government and club managment are leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit of 3 points in this match and the remaining 12 fixtures. My belief is that history will repeat itself when the door of this season is finally shut on the 2nd of October.
Well, I think it would be sad if Heartland fails to beat the drop but to be honest, the club has been on a steady decline all these years. I hope they find the resources to. I honestly do hope so.
But I also want three points for Enyimba on Saturday.