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Battle for Heartland’s soul continues, as SSA to Okorocha proclaims Etuemena club chairman




There seems to be no end in sight for the leadership battle that has dogged Heartland Football Club since the Owerri-based team were relegated to the Nigerian National League (NNL).

Early this week, Deputy Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Ugonna Ozuruigbo, at a press briefing announced the dissolution of the Goodfaith Etuemena-led board and constituter a management committee to oversee the affairs of the tea. He said his authority to dissolve the board came with the power conferred on him by the state government as the club’s supervisor.

That was a few days after Etuemena had dismissed reports that his board had been sacked, saying that only the state government had the authority to dissolve his committee.

Events took a turn in favour of Etuemena yesterday when it was revealed that a Senior Special Assistant to Governor Rochas Okorocha, Comrade Kenneth Emelu, has clarified that the incumbent board remained the authentic leadership of the club.

He also said that Ozuruigbo would still act as the supervisor of the club.

Emelu, who spoke in Owerri on Monday during the handing over ceremony of a new office accommodation to the incumbent chairman, said there was no need for any conflict or controversy as the letters of appointment given to both parties specified their duties and roles in the club.

The Imo State’s former commissioner for youth and sports advised Etuemena and Ozuruigbo to close ranks and work together on how to bring Heartland back to the citadel of Nigeria football where he had left it during his tenure as commissioner.

“Let’s be frank, we do not need any crises now, we do not need any clash of ego or division. The governor has not made any mistake in appointing the two of you. He wants you to work together and reposition Heartland. Etuemena is in-charge as the chairman and Ozuruigbo is there as supervisor,” he advised.

Emelu said it was saddening for him to hear that the club, which he took to win five trophies under two seasons between 2012 and 2013 suddenly found itself in the relegation zone within a short time of his exit as commissioner.

Earlier, the Vice Chairman of Imo State Football Association, Sir Emma Ochiagha, had advised the state government to define the organogram of the club instead of experimentations through coinages that do not tally with football framework.

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