Heartland F.C.

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Heartland FC
Heartland F.C.
Full name Heartland Football Club
Nickname(s) Soccer Scientists, Spartans, Naze Millionaires, Hearts
Founded 1976
Ground Dan Anyiam Stadium
Owerri, Imo, Nigeria
Ground Capacity 10,000
Chairman Goodfaith Etuemena[1]
Manager Ramson Madu
League Nigeria National League
2016 18th (relegated)

Heartland FC (formerly known as Iwuanyanwu Nationale from 1985 to 2006) is a Nigerian football club based in Owerri. They play their home games at Dan Anyiam Stadium. Enyimba FC are their rivals. Until their 18th place showing and relegation in 2016, they were one of two teams in the top flight that had never been relegated. In October 2017, Heartland F.C. won the Nigeria National League Southern Conference to gain promotion back up to the top flight. [2]

History[edit]

Founded as Spartans FC, they won the Nigerian championship three years running from 1988–90. [1]. Their first international (friendly) match was against Ararat Yerevan of the USSR which Spartans won 2–0 at the Township Stadium, Tetlow Road, Owerri, in August 1976.[3]

Milestones[edit]

November 1985: Spartans FC renamed Iwuanyanwu Nationale FC following a successful change of ownership from Imo State Government to chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.

January 1986: Iwuanyanwu Nationale embark on a 3-week training tour of Brazil. The club finished runner-up of Nigerian top league.

1987: Iwuanyanwu Nationale emerged as League winners ahead of Leventis United on goal difference. They later went on to represent Nigeria in CAF Champions Cup.

1988: Iwuanyanwu Nationale repeat as League champions as well as winning Nigerian FA Cup for first time, beating Flash Flamingoes of Benin in cup final 3–0. Reach CAF Champions Cup final, winning 1–0 in first leg tie in Ibadan, losing 4–0 in Constantine, Algeria in return leg versus Entente Setif.

1989: Retain League title but lost FA Cup following 0–1 loss in final to BCC Lions.

1990: Iwuanyanwu Nationale beat Stationery Stores of Lagos in Lagos in professional League's commemorative game 2–1. Nationale went on to emerge first pro league winners in Nigeria.

1991: Nationale lose League title to Julius Berger, crash out of CAF Champions Cup to Nakivubo of Uganda in semi-final.

1993: Club regain League title following a 2–0 away victory over El-Kanemi Warriors in last league fixture to edge out Bendel Insurance to the title race.

1994: Reach champions cup quarter-final. Lose 3–0 to Espérance de Tunis of Tunisia in first leg tie, September 18. Aboard a chartered Oriental Airline, the team suffered an aircrash at Tamanrasset, Southern Algeria same night. Two players, defender Aimola Omale and goalkeeper Uche Ikeogu lost their lives. CAF consequently shifted the return leg match in Owerri from October 3, to October 10. Nationale crashed out following a 1–1 draw in the return leg match.

1999: Emerged regular League champions but lost title to Lobi Stars of Makurdi in the inaugural Super League play-off.

2005: Finished third in Premier League and also in the Coca-Cola FA Cup with coach Stanley Eguma in charge.

2006: Imo State Government re-acquire ownership of the club on February 7 from chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, renaming it Heartland FC.[3]

2008: Finished second in Premier League by one point to Kano Pillars, earned a Champions League slot.

2009: Finished second in the 2009 CAF Champions League, losing to away goals to TP Mazembe after tying 2–2 on aggregate.

2011: The club won the Federation Cup, its first silverware since its last league win in 1993. Heartland defeated highly fancied Enyimba 1-0 thanks to a late first half goal by their captain, Chinedu Efugh.

2012: Heartland retained its 2011 cup win by defeating Lobi Stars 2-1 in the finals held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos thereby winning it again in 2012.

Relegation To NNL[edit]

Ending 18th in the 2016 Nigeria Professional Football League ensured the club went on relegation for the first time since its 40-year existence. On the final day of the season, Heartland abandoned their game against Plateau United in the 75th minute after the centre referee, Folorunsho Ajayi cancelled their goal which was to give them a 2-1 lead. Heartland was eventually penalized by the League Management for abandoning their game and 3 points and 3 goals was awarded to the home team, Plateau United. The result of this meant that MFM FC was safe would remain in the league at Heartland's expense.

They only spent a year at the second level, winning the Southern division with 61 points and 18 wins, 7 draws and 7 losses.

Achievements[edit]

1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993.
1988, 2011, 2012.
2011, 2012.

Performance in CAF competitions[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of September 2017

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Nigeria GK Itua Osayi
2 Nigeria MF Abubakar Jika
3 Nigeria DF Chukwudi Oparaugo
4 Nigeria MF Uchenna Orisakwe
5 Nigeria DF Godwin Emmanuel
7 Nigeria MF Prince Dike
8 Nigeria MF Kingsley Salami
9 Nigeria FW Moses Akinade
11 Nigeria DF Macmarcel Obioha
12 Nigeria FW Mohammed Afeez
13 Nigeria MF Kingsley Ugwuegbu
14 Nigeria DF Kenneth Ikwugbado
15 Nigeria DF Benedict Okotu
16 Nigeria FW Elvis Okoroafor
17 Nigeria FW Ali Buhari
No. Position Player
18 Nigeria GK Ebele Obi
19 Nigeria DF Emmanuel Nwokeji
20 Nigeria FW Chimere Maduba
21 Nigeria MF Odera Onyiri
22 Nigeria FW Francis Momoh
24 Nigeria MF Nelson Osoboh
25 Nigeria MF Kingsley Anunobi
26 Nigeria MF Julius Ubido (Captain)
27 Nigeria MF Nnamdi Egbujor
28 Nigeria MF Odinaka Ahiaeke
29 Nigeria MF Emmanuel Egesi
30 Nigeria GK Azeez Ikhana
31 Nigeria DF Onyebuchi Onyechefula
33 Nigeria DF Onomba Chijioke
35 Nigeria FW Okoro Ndukwe
36 Ivory Coast MF Alexandre Kouakou
40 Nigeria GK Emeka Ezeogu

Team staff[edit]

Cajetan Nkwopara --------------Secretary
Mobi Oparaku ---------------- Team Manager
Emma U. Emelu -----------------Welfare Officer
Anthony C. Okoro --------------Asst. Coordinator
Nduka Ozuruigbo --------------- Finance Officer
Bar. Ifeanyi Dike -----------------Legal Officer
Neville Okere ----------------- ---Marketing Officer 
Veronica Aghalanya ------------ IT Specialist 
Emmanuel Ugo ----------------- Deputy Security Officer
Henry Echefu -------------------- Media Officer
Solomon Onu -------------------- Public Relations Officer
George Iheanacho ------------ Medical Officer

Technical Crew

Ramson Madu ------------------ Chief Coach
Patrick Awaja ------------------- Assistant Coach
Bob Acholonu ------------------- Chief Fitness Trainer
Chjarles Uzo ---------------------Head Coach Team B
Longinus Duru ------------------- Goalkeeper Trainer

Former coaches[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]