By Fidelis Ebu
ABUJA â€“ Chairman Heartland FC, Ignatius Okeihalam already has his eyes on the Orange CAF Champions League shield when the Owerri soccer outfit line out against TP Mazembe Sunday at the Dan Anyiam Stadium.
Okeihalam in a chat said he has the players that can contain the Mazembe players come Sunday.â€œWeâ€™re not scared of the Congolese, and we are familiar with them as weâ€™ve met twice in the group stage of the championship.
â€œWe have all it takes to dominate the game and win the trophy for the first time. Weâ€™ve been in finals of most of the continental championships without lifting the trophy, and this time we are ready to break the jinx. With the support weâ€™re getting from the Executive Governor of the state, the players are determined to put in their bestâ€, Ignatius Okeihalam said.
The encounter, originally fixed for Saturday, October 31, was rescheduled after a critical review of some organisational related activities with respect to the game.
The Owerri conflict this afternoon would be the third time the two clubs will be meeting in the prestigious club competition.
The Congolese dominated the first group tie with a 2-0 win, and lost with same margin when both clubs met in Owerri; the same venue they would clash this afternoon.
â€œIf previous performance in the continental championship is anything to be considered, we are nowhere. All our previous participations have ended in the final without any title to show for it. This time, weâ€™re prepared to break the jinx and enter the CAF Champions League Hall of Fame. With the support of stakeholders, we will achieve the feat on Sundayâ€, he added.
After Sundayâ€™s first leg tie, the second leg would hold on November 7th in the Congolese city of Lubumbashi.
â€œAfter our convincing win here, we will storm Lumumbashi for the crucial decider, and we will return with the coveted trophyâ€, Okeihalam said.
Remarkably, TP Mazembe are twice winners of the competition – 1967 and 1968 – whilst Heartland are making their maiden appearance on the continental stage.
Both teams are however battling for $1,500,000 prize-money at stake and a ticket to represent African at the Fifa World Club Championship slated for the United Arab Emirates in December.