By Eddie Akalonu
Ex international and former Iwuanyanwu Nationale coach, Tony Ukeachu has tipped Heartland to win this yearâ€™s Orange CAF Champions League despite fears being expressed by many that the slim 2-1 victory in the first leg final last week was not enough.
HeÂ appealedÂ to Heartland to stay focused and avoid complacency as it was the only way they could defeat Mazembe, adding that the Congolese had shown from the first leg and group games that they are a strong side and in this for business.
â€œIf the situation is well managed and it is my belief they would do it, Iâ€™m sure that at the end of 90 minutes that Heartland will beat Mazembe to the crown,â€ he said, as he charged them to play as a team and fight more than they have ever done.
â€œHeartland had beaten stronger opponents this year alone, such as Cotton Sport, who they beat 1-0 in Owerri but later qualified after playing to an away draw. More than that, I recall too that I was coach of Iwuanyawu in 1988 when they were in the Cup of Champions Club final against Setif of Algeria and it was 1-0 in Ibadan but we lost 4-0 away which I would blame more to the poor weather. It is different in Congo this time as the weather is the same as ours,â€ he said.
Ukeachu advised Heartland to be wary of taunting from the Mazembe home crowd which could destabilise them and help their own team win.
â€œThey must find a way to avoid being distracted by the home fans but rather be inspired to beat Mazembe on their soil by calling upÂ the same spirit they took to Garua, Cameroun to beat andÂ bundle Cotonsport out of the competition,â€ he advised.