Heartland’s Captain says referee forced team to abandon match
The Captain of relegated Heartland FC of Owerri, Chinedu Efugh, on Monday said the referee’s unfair officiating marred his team’s efforts during the last match of the Nigeria premier football season.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Heartland, fondly called Naze Millionaires, abandoned their season’s last game against Plateau United of Jos after 1-1 draw, citing bad officiating.
The club that has never been relegated since its founding in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) in 1976, thus finished the 2015/2016 season being 18th on the log with 44 points from 36 matches.
The team, which did not have a good run in the season, abandoned the match half way after the referee disallowed their second goal at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos.
“The referee made a mess of our efforts, they scored first which was an offside, we maintained our cool; shortly we equalised but we were shocked when it was disallowed.
“That was a clean goal, so we had to abandon the match; their fans were so unruly, so we could not continue with the match for our safety.
“We will present our case to the League Management Company (LMC), it’s been a tough season for us, we played our hearts out but we won’t allow this to deter us.
“Videos don’t lie, so we believe that by the time all the relevant committee sees the clip they will sympathise with us and do what is right,’’ Efugh said.
Heartland has won the NPFL four times and has also won the FA Cup thrice and the Super Cup twice.