Thursday, September 22, 2011

Heartland’s Okonkwo out of cup final

Right-back Chibuzor Okonkwo has been ruled out of Heartland’s game against Enyimba for the Federation Cup final at the Teslim Balogun Stadium this Sunday.

The 22-year-old has been out of the side in the past one week due to a thigh problem, has learned.

Okonkwo did not travel with the Naze Millionaires to Lagos for the big clash with the Peoples Elephant.

Head coach of Heartland, Lodewijk de Kruif is likely to start Orji Kalu Okagbue at right-back in the absence of Okonkwo against Enyimba on Sunday.

The former Bayelsa United man has missed a couple of domestic games for Heartland this season including their Federation Cup quarterfinal game against Dolphins in Ilorin.

Captain of Heartland, Chinedu ‘Chicago’ Efugh is confident that the absence of the Super Eagles’ defender will have no effect on the team’s back line.

But Efugh admitted that Okonkwo’s presence will have added steel to the defence of Heartland.

“He has missed a number of games for us (this season) and we have played and coped well without him. This is not saying that we won’t miss him. He is a big player for us and we wish we could have him for this game.

"But we will do our best and win this one, as it is our best chance of winning something for the first time in years,” Efugh told

Heartland are in the hunt for their Federation Cup title in 23 years. They came close to winning the trophy in 1999 when they lost to Plateau United by a lone goal.

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