By Chinatu Jon
In 1976, a certain Chief Jerry Enyeazu who was a Director of Sports in the Old Imo state birthed two football clubs, Heartland FC of Owerri and Enyimba FC of Aba.
Heartland, first known as Spartans, then Iwuanyanwu Nationale before the state government took over the club again and renamed it Heartland FC, have tasted glory in her early days. They played a friendly with a USSR club coupled with a tour of Brazil as early as the 1980’s before winning the league title thrice on the trot.
Fast forward to 2017, Heartland FC which was one of the two clubs never to get relegated are now languishing in relegation after a 17th place finish in the 2016 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season, though amidst controversies.
Heartland’s relegation was down to a few things which all pointed to a political tussle in the club’s management team. At a certain point, there were conflicting reports emanating from the club hierarchy which emboldened the disunity evident in the club.
But there seems to be a new air of unity and warming calmness in the ranks of the Owerri based club, just as the club’s media officer predicted in an exclusive chat with Football Naija when the strife was at its peak.
We hope that as strange as the murky waters of relegation and Nigeria National League (NNL) will be to the Naze Millionaires, they will rise again to the glory days as we saw between the 1980’s and the 2000’s.
To be continued…