Heartland’s campaign in the NPFL has been blighted by financial issues and poor players’ welfare, in sharp contrast to their nickname Naze Millionaires, writes ’TANA AIYEJINA

Nigerian football followers were left bemused December 29, 2020 when reports emerged that Heartland FC, the Owerri-based Nigeria Professional Football League side, were stranded in Katsina, where they had gone to play their opening game of the 2020/21 season against Katsina United a day earlier.

The Naze Millionaires, as Heartland are nicknamed, lost the encounter 3-2, after going ahead twice, but reports said players and officials of the club were held back by the management of Fadama View Hotel, where they had lodged before the game, following their inability to sort the bills incurred at the hotel.

 The incident came after the club were handed a two-window ban from signing new players by the League Management Company for failing to pay the salaries of two former players Maduabuchi Okereke and Fatunwase Olusegun.

The LMC ordered Heartland to pay both players N16.65m.

Also, world body FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee found Heartland guilty of breaching their contract with Brazilian Santos Da Costa Ivo Jorge.

Santos Da Costa joined Heartland from Flumenese SC of Joinville, Brazil in 2018 on a two-year contract but was reportedly abandoned by the club after a change of management in July 2019.