NIGERIA Premier Football League, NPFL side- Heartland FC winless streak has ignited a storm of pressure between the Imo state government club’s management and the coaching crew.
The club who triumphed and won the trophy during their stint at the country second tier league- Nigeria National League, (NNL) to gain promotion to the top-flight league last season have been left walloping at the bottom of the log.
Since their return to the top-flight league, the Owerri boys have drawn five matches and lost three matches, resulting in five points out of possibly 24 points in 8 matches.
The ICIR learnt that the team’s poor run performance has sparked the echoes of dissatisfaction, leaving supporters seething over the disappointing outcome especially during their last match against Bayelsa United at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri.
During their encounter against Bayelsa United, Heartland FC were leading 2-0 until the game changed 10 minutes to the end of the regulation time. The visiting team, however, restored parity with two goals within one minute, casting doubt on the strength of the team to get a win.
In a chat with The ICIR, a member of the state’s football administrator who does not want his name mentioned revealed the pressure mounted on the management, coach and the state’s commissioner for youth, sport and social development, Emeka Okoronkwo as a result of the team’s lacklustre performance.
“Heartland FC have won their four home games, picked an away draw and lost three. It is normal for the management and the coaches to be under pressure but to douse the pressure, they must get victory, they must be able to assuage their fans that we may have a problem now, it won’t be for long,” he said.
He blamed the poor run of the team on the lack of blend of experience and young players in the team, faulting the recruitment process before the commencement of the league.
“What I can say about Heartland struggle is probably the way the players were recruited, they should have complemented experience with usefulness but what we have is more young players without much experience.
“Those who are experienced in the league are those who are about to end their career in the league,” he added.
Heartland FC will face Sporting Lagos on Sunday, November 19 2023 at the Mobolaji Johnson stadium in Lagos.