Retired players call for disciplinary measures to address Heartland FC relegation from NPFL
The Imo Football Legend, an association of retired players of Imo extraction, has called for disciplinary measures to address the recent relegation of Heartland Football Club from the Nigerian Professional Football League.
The retired players made the call during a complaints visit to the Chairman of the Imo Football Association, Mazi Amanze Uchegbulam and the Chairman of the State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Revd (Dr) Eches Divine Eches .
The Imo Football Legend, led by Casmir Mbachu, queried why the Heartland FC they slaved to keep afloat over the years, had gone on relegation the second time within five years .
Mbachu said, “In years past, we slaved for the team, we saw it as our collective pride as Imo people and we gave it our best.Some of us sustained permanent injuries just for the love of our club, how is it that within five years, Heartland FC has gone into relegation again. The club gave us all joy and we are deeply worried”.
Another Ex-international player, Isaac Mbika said, “Ndi-Imo are pained, annoyed that our team suffered relegation due to bad management, people who don’t have passion for the team, game, and bond it holds for us. We demand that the people behind this development must be made to face disciplinary measures”, he said.
The cross-section of the group complained that the players were not motivated and for the first time, embarked on an open protest to demand payment of their salaries, saying it was a huge embarrassment to the people and state.
According to them, it was time to remove all the staff and administrators associated with the shameful outing saying they were ready to invest their time to make the team take her place of pride again.
Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Revd Dr Eches Divine Eches commended the ex-players for their peaceful manner over the development, even as he regretted the Heartland relegation.
He said sources have proved that Governor Hope Uzodimma provided the necessary logistics needed by the team but regretted that few persons diverted it for their own personal selfish interests, saying he will channel their complaints to the appropriate authorities.
Chairman of Imo Football Association, Mazi Amanze Uchegbulam thanked the ex-players for their zeal and love for Heartland despite years after retirement, saying they had shown they are worthy Imo people. He stated that past efforts to ensure the team stayed afloat were rebuffed while the management failed to accept recommendations proffered.
Uchegbulam stated that the Imo Football Association will look into the complaints made and ensure the good of the leather game in the state.
The FA Chairman assured the legends that everyone who contributed to the mismanagement of Heartland FC that resulted in the relegation would certainly face disciplinary measures to avoid a repeat in the future, and expressed hopes that the club will return to the Premier League soon.