The management of Heart
land FC of Owerri has rejected calls by fans of the club to sack its Chief Coach, Ranson Madu.
The fans in separate interviews told newsmen at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri that the coach should be sacked for “poor performance’’.
The fans expressed bitterness over the poor performance of the club in the ongoing 2013/2014 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), saying it was beyond expectation.
Heartland’s Media Officer, Cajethan Nkwopara, however, told newsmen that the problem with the club was not technical crew.
He said the club’s management went to the open market lately and were left with leftover players to buy.
According to him, the club is undergoing rebuilding process where most of the players need to adapt with the philosophy of the club.
He described the decision of the club’s fans for management to sack the coaches as misplaced priority and urged them to be patient with the club for a possible improvement.
Heartland in the ongoing season has won only one match out of seven and drew six to place the club in the 18th position of the 20-club league format.
The only match it won was against Eyimba of Aba.
A popular supporter of the club, Mr Emenike Udeh, said the only way for Heartland to come out of the relegation zone was for the club’s management to sack the chief coach.
He then, urged the management to engage a more experienced coach, saying it was not too late for the club to stay out of the relegation zone.
Udeh said that as a prominent supporters member, he could direct other fans to start boycotting Heartland’s matches at home and away if the management failed to yield to their desire.
Another supporter, Ibe Anosike, said that favouritism had eaten deep into the club.
“The problem is favouritism which started in the regime of the present chief coach of the club.
“We know players who are very good, but the coach will rather prefer to feature people who gave bribe to be featured.
“The management must sack both the coaching crew and the technical crew for the problem to be settled,” he said.
Anosike also reacted to the payment of sign-on fees to players by Gov. Rochas Okorocha and which was later replaced with insurance package after the abolition of sign-on fees.
Okorocha paid sign-on fees arrears of Heartland players before its abolishment and introduced an insurance package for them to boost their morale.
The fan, however, said that the governor’s moves were to boost players’ morale but that the coach has failed.
“The problem of the club is not from the players but the coaches who have failed to use the players properly,’’ Anosike said.
Another, Ikenna Tobem, expressed the fear of Heartland going on relegation this season following their current position on the league table.
“Government has done enough in the area of welfare which is enough for both the players and the management to impress the government,’’ he said.
According to him, it was sad that Heartland which won the Federation Cup back to back in 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 seasons was now in the 2013/2014 Premiership relegation water.
“We are very unhappy that the champion has fallen and this has placed the club in a very bad shape,’’ he said.
Nigeria, Zambia Join WAFCON Train
Nine-time Women’s Africa Cup of Nations winners, Nigeria became the final side to book their place at the 2024 tournament as qualifiers culminated this week.
The Super Falcons came from behind to beat Cape Verde 2-1 away from home, with Rasheedat Ajibade’s injury-time winner clinching a 7-1 aggregate victory on Tuesday.
Barbra Banda was among Zambia’s scorers as the Copper Queens, who finished third at last year’s Nations Cup, thrashed Angola 6-0 at home to complete a 12-0 aggregate win.
However, two-time champions Equatorial Guinea will miss out on the 12-team finals following a 2-1 defeat away against DR Congo which saw the hosts progress 3-2 overall.
Botswana beat Kenya 1-0 to secure qualification for their second consecutive finals. while Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Tunisia all sealed their places in Morocco, who will host for the second time in a row.
The dates for the tournament, scheduled for next year, are yet to be announced.
Holders South Africa and Algeria secured their spots on Monday, with Banyana Banyana beating Burkina Faso 3-1 on aggregate and the North Africans sealing a 1-0 win in Burundi to progress 6-1 over the two legs.
Ghana will return to the finals for the first time since 2018 despite losing 1-0 away against Namibia, with the Black Queens going through 3-2 on aggregate.
Senegal, Tanzania and Tunisia also failed to win their away ties, but progressed against Egypt, Togo and Congo respectively.
Mali won 3-0 away against Guinea to round off a 10-2 victory overall.
Olowu Targets WABU Crown At GOtv Boxing Night 30
Super welterweight boxer, Taiwo ‘Gentle Boy’ Olowu, on Wednesday , said his target is to claim the West African Boxing Union (WABU) super welterweight title at GOtv Boxing Night 30 on December 26.
The enterprising boxer, who is the national welterweight title holder, will square up to top Ghanaian boxer, Michael Ansah, at the event slated for the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos.
Speaking ahead of the fight, ‘Gentle Boy’ boasted that he would ensure the Ghanaian returned to his country empty-handed.
“I aim to add this West African Boxing Union title to my national title. As a national champion, I cannot allow a foreigner to come and take this belt away in front of my fans. This is a big opportunity for me to be a WABU champion. Ansah will leave Nigeria empty-handed,” he said.
The more experienced Ghanaian boxer has a record of 23 wins, 12 defeats, and three draws from 38 professional fights, while ‘Gentle Boy’ boasts 15 wins and one defeat from his 16 professional fights.
In another title fight, Sifon ‘Best’ Iwatt will battle Saheed Azeez for the national super flyweight title.
Also on the card for the night are five other national fights, including a female national cruiserweight challenge fight between national champion, Bolatito ‘Black Tito’ Oluwole and Blessing Abisoye.
Arabambi Ojo and Ibrahim ‘Golden Boy’ Opeyemi will slug it out in a national bantamweight challenge bout; Abdulafeez ‘Big Name’ Osoba will face Christopher Ucheji in a national super welterweight challenge fight, while Ayanfe Adeoye and Ahmed Ganiyu will duel in a national light welterweight category.
Nigeria Makes Final Team Of The Year Award
Nigeria made the final three shortlists for the 2023 Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Women’s National Team of the Year award.
CAF announced the final three shortlist on their X handle yesterday.
The other two countries are reigning Women’s Africa Cup of Nations champions South Africa and Morocco.
Nigeria, Morocco and South Africa featured at this year’s FIFA women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The trio all reached the round of 16 at the tournament, which was won by Spain.
The winner will be announced on Monday, December 11, in Marrakech, Morocco.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Super Falcons recently qualified for the 2024 WAFCON, hosted by Morocco.
A 7-1 aggregate win against Cape Verde ensured the Falcons will be making their 13th appearance at the tournament, which began in 1998 in Nigeria.
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