Uzodimma Fetes Heartland FC, Gifts N100m to Players, Managers

Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma has  feted the players and management staff of Heartland Football Club of Imo State for emerging double champions in the recent Nigerian National League  (NNL)and also getting promoted  to the Nigeria Premier Federation League.

In a show of appreciation for their performance, the Governor announced a donation of N100 million for the players and their managers which he said will come through extra budgetary allocation.

Hosting the team to a dinner party  in  Owerri on Wednesday night,  Governor Uzodimma said: “My heart is full of joy for receiving you this evening with a double barrel honours.”

He noted that his heart was troubled when Heartland Football Club was relegated from the premiership league despite the huge amount put into the industry since 2020 but explained that he was aware that the team has talents “but the problem was how to manage those talents.”

Governor Uzodimma added that “when they reached out to us we responded, offered our support and today we are celebrating them,” informing that he is very happy that the Heartland  Football Club is back to the Premiership League.

He encouraged the players and their managers not to relent “because the government will continue to render more support” to them.

His words: “In today’s world, we cannot do without sports. “In my government I cannot do without Heartland.”

He, however, encouraged them to carry along the Heartland Queens, noting that he is also interested in Heartland Queens winning.

He said: “Now that you have shown that you can win, government can show that they can support.I am rewarding your efforts with a cash of N100 million and this money is not part of your salaries nor running cost but to be shared among.”

The governor added: “We must ensure that sports are properly organized and managed so that Imo State will become the centre focus of sports activities.”

He emphasised that he was aware that some of the managers are in acting capacity, and charged them not to be discouraged as “it is not wise to change a winning team but go with the confidence that the government is in full support of them.”

“I will encourage you to continue to work hard because I don’t want you to be just champions now, I want you to be continental champions.”

He thanked the team that won the trophy,  reiterating that he will encourage them to win more goals.

The Governor also used the opportunity to direct the Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development to arrange a dinner with the Heartland Queens.

Presenting the trophies, the Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development,  Emeka Okoronkwo, said that they came to present to the governor the trophies  the team won after 16 unbeaten games in the NNL and returned to the topflight NPFL in less than five months after relegation, “the first of its kind in history of football in Nigeria.”

He said that “the team has formed major component of the Governor’s administration and this has materialised in what we seeing here today.”

He said that they could not have achieved the feat without His Excellency’s fatherly care and support, adducing that their aim is to go forward in gunning for continental ticket by the end of the new season.

Adding his voice, the FA Chairman, Barr. Ifeanyi Dike said that they gathered  to thank the governor for all his support to the Heartland Football Club and that whenever they called on him he always answered them and came to their aid.

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