Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Heartland Prepare for Strike

Owerri — Uneasy calm is now raging in Heartland Football Club of Owerri, following what the players called "inability or reluctance of the state government to clear their legitimate earnoings".

Sports Vanguard gathered that the aggrieved players have concluded plans to embark on indefinite industrial action until government pays them.

They players are irked that they are owed a balance of 30 percent of their sign-on fees from the last football season, seven match bonuses and arrears of salaries since August last year.

One of the most vocal players, who spoke on strict grounds of anonymity, told our Correspondent that as the last count, they have, between 2011 and 2012, won five trophies.

"These include the Federation Cup 2011, Champion of Champions Cup 2011, Pre-season Super Four Tournament 2012, Federation Cup 2012 and Champion of Champions Cup 2012. The sad thing is that up till now, Governor Rochas Okorocha has not deemed it expedient to rewarded the players", the aggrieved player lamented.

Answering another question, the ace footballer said the morale of the players at the Naze camp is very low, even as they are gradually losing hope.

"Next football season begins March 9, while our continental engagement will also begin in the same month. I do not know how we can successfully prosecute these assignments with the present state of affairs", the young man fumed.

When contacted on his mobile line, the Club's Public Relations Officer, Mr. Cajetan Nkwopara, affirmed that the players are owed some money but quickly added that the management is yet to be informed of any impending strike.

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