The next Nigeria Professional Football League, (NIFL) may commence late December, 2016.  While other clubs including those which escaped  relegation by the whiskers, are preparing for the next season frenetically, relegated Heartland FC of Owerri is still engaged in blame game over who was responsible for the club’s unprecedented woes.
While uncertainty prevails over the club unconfirmed news state that some key players, including the committed ‘Captain Fantastic’ Efugh have switched camps to nearby Abia Warriors.
It would not be surprising, therefore, to hear that the bulk of the experienced players that have made Heartland FC, tick over the years have left the club.
One is amused to hear some radio analysts make a strong case for Heartland to search the nook and crannies of Imo State to recruit players because, as they put it, there are many Kelechi  Iheanachos and Iwobis wasting in the rural areas of Imo State.
For the club to heed  such an advice would mean courting disaster and a disappointing lack of understanding of the gravity of the situation that is confronting Heartland FC.
After the relegation of the club, one had thought that the uncompromising priority of the club would have been to do everything in its power to immediately return it to the elite division.
There is this saying that it is more difficult for a club to go on relegation than to come out of it because at the second division the clubs do anything to get promoted to the NPFL and that there is lack of adequate supervision from the  controlling body.
Thus, Heartland FC is too big a club to stay for more than one season in the lower division and has to prepare to get promoted back to division one like the clubs preparing for Africa Champions League and CAF Confederations Cup.  Just like these teams and other ambitious clubs are busy recruiting new technical and playing staffs, so should Heartland be equally involved.  Despite the disappointments following the club’s relegation, one of the ways to confirm its status as an elite team is the speed with which it returns to where it rightly belongs – NPFL.
And this calls for the engagement of quality coaches, players and management, not rookies.  Heartland must retain its experienced hands with considerable incentives for quick promotion, lest the longer they stay in the lower division, frustration could set in and such could lead to the pride of Imo staying at the lower league for longer than necessary.

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Christian Voice