Saturday, July 04, 2009

Heartland Will Be Stronger Next Season - Ezenwa

First-choice goalkeeper at Heartland Football Club, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, believes that the Naze Millionaires can become the strongest side in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) next season.
The Olympic silver medallist told our correspondent in an interview that after finishing the last season in second position in then Premier League that the club can go one step better by winning the title.
Heartland FC last won the topflight of the Nigerian league 18 years ago when it was still referred to as Iwuanyanwu Nationale.
Ezenwa despite his optimism ahead of next season’s campaign, cannot forget how Heartland FC failed to close up on eventual champion, Bayelsa United, after a long chase that spanned more than five months.
“Overall, we had a great season except that we are disappointed that we didn’t win the title as we expected that after such a long chase last season, Bayelsa United would have stumbled along the way. I know that we can become a stronger team next season,” he said.
The former safehands of Ocean Boys, however, believes that becoming the strongest side in the Premier League next term would depend on retaining a larger number of the current crop of players.
“But we can only become stronger next season if we still have almost all of the same players around,” posited the goalkeeper.
The former Under-20 national team goaltender has decided to put the failure of the club at the local scene behind him and face the CAF Champions League.
Apart from missing out of the title in the Premier League, Heartland FC was knocked out of the ongoing Federation Cup by relegated Akwa United, which went on to play in the group stages of the competition formerly known as the FA Cup.
“Now we can concentrate on the CAF Champions League. We didn’t win any trophy in Nigeria and may be we could make up for that by winning the (CAF) Champions League. We have a very, very experienced team full of quality players, who have played on the continent before and most of them want to win it,” he said.

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