Ndubuoke insists the team is pleased with its performance

Ndubuoke insists the team is pleased with its performanceFan Ndubuoke, the General Manager of Heartland FC of Owerri, has blamed the club’s elimination from the ongoing CAF Confederation Cup on poor officiating.

Ndubuoke told journalists in Lagos on Wednesday that the team had put behind it the disappointment of being eliminated.

He added that the loss suffered by the team in the hands of AC Leopards did not come to him as a surprise.

He alleged biased officiating in the match, saying the team played brilliantly in the game.

“We are not disappointed because the boys played as instructed; I am only disappointed at the manner through which we got eliminated. I take consolation in the brilliant performance of my players, amidst provocation and intimidation.

The match was still 1-1, until the 91st minute of the match, when the referee gave an undeserving penalty.

According to the club manager, that sort of penalty is called African magic.

“Our efforts were ruined by poor officiating, there is nothing in the book that we did not do. But the plot was clear. For a referee to awarded a dubious penalty kick with  just a minute to the end of the match…” Ndubuoke said.

“Even if we went there with 20 Ronaldos and Messi’ put together, it would not have changed anything, the script had been written long before the match commenced.”

He was optimistic the team would stage a continental come-back and would strive toward clinching a continental ticket through the ongoing Nigeria Premier League (NPL) season.

“I don’t see how we would not get a ticket to return to continental football next year, the best thing to do is to keep our cool and make sure our players are up to the task,” the manager said.

“We have looked at our position on the league table, if we play the way we played in Congo in our subsequent league matches, we will come out tops automatically.”

The Heartland manager denied that the departure of their Dutch coach, Lodewijk de Kruif, contributed to the loss, saying it had nothing to do with the club’s elimination from the CAF competition.

“We are expecting him back soon after he must have  sorted out his family issues but the problem we had in Congo was beyond 20 Dutch coaches put together,” he said.

When asked about the club’s financial state regarding the players’ remuneration and allowances, he said that Heartland had paid salaries up to date but was still owing some bonuses.  

“I will say 90 per cent, yes, we have paid up but we are still owing a couple of percentage of their bonuses. I will be telling a lie if I say we are 100 per cent okay in terms of remunerations,” Ndubuoke said.

He urged fans not to relent in their support for the club as it strives to improve its position on the NPL table.

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