IS HEARTLAND CAPABLE?
It’s been a while I wrote an article, maybe the spirit disappeared but I think it’s back
Guess what else is back? HEARTLAND. Sure this is no new story to you as it’s already been
two months since Heartland FC made a return to the NPFL from the NNL after spending just a year away.
2017 has been an awesome year for the team no doubt. Kicking life off in an unfamiliar terrain
was truly unusual, challenging and something many fans really didn’t want to get used to, players
included-which led to so many ex-players requesting for a transfer away from the club in other to keep
their NPFL status and of course they got it; a lot got transferred and just a couple of regulars felt it was best to remain with the team and help return it back to the NPFL – some of those who did were: eventual captain Julius Ubido, Macmarcel Obioha, Onyebuchi Onyechefula, goalkeeper Ebele Obi, Uchenna
Orisakwe and the young Prince Dike.
The departure of some of the club’s stars meant new names had to fill-in those shoes, Coach Madu had a grave job to do. He had to bring in players who were capable and he sure did. He said at the beginning of the season.
“This is a new era in Heartland, an era with a generation of players that’ll marvel everyone”.
Trust the fans who have lost their hope in their team that got relegated for the first time
since their 40-year existence to doubt every word of that statement.
Fast-forward to midseason in the NNL, Heartland was on top of the table after the likes of
rookies, Odinaka Ahiaeke, Francis Momoh, Nnamdi Egbujor, Okoro Ndukwe, Emmanuel Nwokeji, Moses Akinade, Mohammed Afeez, Ken Ikwugbado, Itua Osayi and so on, dazzled both the fans, the media and even the club management.
A couple more rookies alongside the old names (including those who made their debut this season like Alexandre) kept up with the dazzling on-pitch performance of the club which
in turn kept club comfortably on top of the Southern Conference table till the end of the season.
By October, Heartland had gained promotion to the NPFL alongside Go-Round, and Kwara United and
Yobe DSFC (both from the Northern Conference).
Jubilations stage have come and gone, resting stage have come and gone, now is the preparation stage and the club is well on it. The club was the first to begin their preseason program and
have been on top of the situation since then, engaging themselves in rigorous training processes every
passing day preceding the new season.
While teams made transfers during the window, Coach Madu
too signed a couple of proficient players, however, the management have decided to unveil these
superstars at a later date (most likely before the year runs out). This is to allow the new players
integrate into the team without public distraction.
A lot of people have been asking, “is Heartland capable…capable of impressing in the new
season?”; time will tell (just like it did in the NNL).
Heartland would officially be having its first preseason
game on Sunday against Rivers United and then more games against Abia Warriors and FC Inter later in the week as the team takes part in the South-East Preseason Tournament in Nnewi, Nigeria. There’s also a possibility of playing FC Ifeanyiubah and Rangers too. It’s not until after these friendlies, we can really begin to ascertain if the Ramson Madu managed side is capable of giving the likes of league champions;
Plateau United, Akwa United, Kano Pillars, Enyimba, MFM and others a run for their money this season.
Meanwhile, it’s December, HAPPY NEW MONTH!
[article written by Jidechi Chidiezie, Twitter @jessejidechi]