By Emmanuel Afonne
Heartland Football Club of Owerri will be restructured ahead of the 2016/2017 Nigeria National League (NNL) task following its relegation to the lower league early this month.
Oscar Keke, the General Manager of the club said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that talks were ongoing between the players and management to know the way forward.
“We will reorganise and get ready for the NNL season and the new position we find ourselves.
“But until we hear from the sponsors of the club, we can only be reorganising within our ability and waiting for the next line of action from the government.
“It is not every player that will want to play in the lower league, so, we will know those that will go and those that will stay before we can know what next in terms of signing players,” Keke said.
According to him, plans are on to keep the club in the elite league.
Keke, however said that the “Naze Millionaires” as Heartland was popularly called would not waste time to fit into the NNL if the plan fail.
“If we see opportunity of those wanting to sell their slots in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), we will take it.
“So far, the people we are talking with are not interested in relinquishing their position,” Keke added.
Heartland FC was relegated to the NNL following a League Management Company (LMC) decision that saw it forfeit three points and three goals to Plateau United FC of Jos for abandoning a match.
A review of the encounter which was a Match Day 38 fixture in the just concluded NPFL season played on Oct. 2 in Jos had shown that Heartland breached article B13.26 of the NPFL rule.
It would be recalled that players of Heartland abandoned their match against Plateau United on the 75th minute following a dispute with the match referee’s call.
Scores were 1-1 at the time the match was abandoned, but the LMC’s decision meant Heartland lost the match 3-0.
It also officially confirmed the relegation of the Owerri based club for the first time in history.