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Rejig Naze Millionaires eager to start second stanza with a bang against Sai Masu Gida

Posted : 16 February 2024

As the 2023-24 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) season resumes with Matchday 20 ties this weekend after the break, partly due to the Super Eagles' participation in the 2023 AFCON and the league organizers' desire to complete all first stanza matches before the commencement of the second stanza.

One of the top games to be played this weekend is the Saturday afternoon fixture between Heartland FC and Kano Pillars, scheduled for the Enyimba International Stadium in Aba.

Both teams have nine league titles combined, even though they have become sleeping giants in recent seasons. Heartland's fifth title, then still known as Iwuanyanwu Nationale, was achieved in 1993, while Sai Masu Gida's fourth title came in 2014.

The game ended 2-1 in Pillars' favor in Kano last month, with Rabiu Ali's 85th-minute spot-kick making the difference, and late Clement Ogbobe's free-kick goal came as a consolation for the Naze Millionaires.

Many changes have taken place, and Heartland FC has brought in quality players to bolster the team and ensure the club leaves its current relegation zone. Players deemed surplus to requirements have had their contracts terminated by mutual consent.

It will be a new Heartland FC in the second stanza, as team head coach Christian Obi expressed when he challenged the players to go full throttle and ensure the Owerri side starts the second stanza with a bang against Kano Pillars on Saturday.

He stated that the mistakes of the first stanza won't be repeated in the second, expecting players to give their all against Kano Pillars, regardless of the weather conditions or other challenges faced prior to the fixture or during the game.

"We have tried to assemble more quality players to ensure that all hands are on deck for the team to remain in the premier league beyond the end of the season. We have trained very hard and have played friendly games too to keep the team in shape. We are confident we can do it, and the players have proved from the test games that they share the same sentiments," Obi disclosed after a recent training session.

"We made some mistakes in the first round, but those mistakes have ended with the first round. We gave opportunities to the players that earned us promotion from the lower league to the Premier League, but not all of them could measure up with the results we got. We have opted for tested legs, and we pray for God's favor in all that we do."

Heartland FC is at the wrong end of the league table, but Obi is confident the team can rewrite its story in the second stanza with impressive results, starting with the home game against Kano Pillars. He implored Owerri fans to troop in numbers to come and support them in Aba to ensure the maximum points are achieved.

Kano Pillars vs Heartland FC Head to Head results:

21-1-2024 Kano Pillars 2-1 Heartland
22-5-2022 Kano Pillars 3-1 Heartland
29-1-2022 Heartland 0-1 Kano Pillars
5-8-2021 Heartland 1-0 Kano Pillars
28-3-2021 Kano Pillars 2-1 Heartland
18-12-2019 Heartland 1-1 Kano Pillars
31-3-2019 Heartland 2-1 Kano Pillars
13-1-2019 Kano Pillars 1-0 Heartland


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