By Toochi Kate
June 20 (Newshour.com.ng) – Peeved by the deplorable condition of sports generally in Imo State and following the relegation of Heartland Football Club to the lower division of the national league, the Accord party governorship candidate for the November 11, 2023 election, Ikenga Johnjude Okere, has once more assured he would return the five times Nigerian Premier League champions, to winning ways.
Addressing a social gathering of Imolites in Owerri, last Sunday, Ikenga regretted that the state was no longer regarded in football circles in view of the relegation of Heartland Football Club.
According to him, “It is quite regrettable and condemnable that our own Heartland Football Club were sent on relegation last season under the watch of the present APC – led government.
“That relegation has been causing severe damage to the image of Imo State’s football in particular and sports in general. I say this because, Imo is no longer rated even as we are disregard in everything football and sports in the country” .
Ikenga Johnjude Okere pointed out that football had become a global brand, a unifier, and one of the biggest employer’s of labour.
He said, “You cannot talk about the first 10 most popular brands in the world today without football being in the first three. Some of the most popular, richest and most influential personalities on earth today are footballers.
“Moreover, football is also one of the biggest employer’s of labour the world over. It generates and promotes multiple business activities via sponsorship deals, marketing, players’ transfers, advertorial, broadcasting and media patronages.
“Based on all of this, one of our immediate priorities of my administration when elected, will be to return Heartland Football Club to winning ways. That is, Heartland will not ply thier trade in the lower division. They will win laurels locally and go ahead to represent Nigeria in continental football competitions. That is where Heartland belong”.