Twelve hours after lifting the Federation Cup, players and officials of Heartland Football Club of Owerri left Lagos by road for a long trip to Owerri, the capital of Imo State.
And this did not go down well with the Federation Cup champions who have won the trophy back-to-back.
Although the players were excited with themselves for their heroics, they were still bitter over the treatment meted to them by the state government under Governor Rochas Okorocha.
One of the players who craved anonymity said that the mood among them was low because they never expected they would travel by road to Owerri, particularly, as the number one citizen of the state was present to witness their all-conquering performance in Lagos.
“I wish we had won this cup under another chief executive,” he said, recalling that events during the match pointed to what they got.
“During half time, the Governor came to our dressing room looking cheerful and visibly happy that we were on course.
He would not make any promise, obviously aware that the many promises he made last year were not fulfilled. He only shook hands with us and encouraged us to play well.”
According to one official, when the club won the 2011 Federation Cup, Governor Okorocha promised the players and officials N1million each. He only paid the players leaving out the officials.. He also promised to replace the bus of the team. They remain empty promises.
The players wondered how they could have traveled to Owerri if they had given their bus to the supporters club as directed by the Governor. “I do not know if we would have gone on foot. We do not know whether there will be a reception or rewards for us. The joy is that we played for ourselves and achieved the desired result.”
He recalled the year they won the league at the expense of Kano Pillars. “Remember, Pillars who were runners up were rewarded with cars, but we got nothing. We’ve won again. This is one bitter-sweet victory. We’re at lost on what awaits us’’, some of the players chorused.