June 12, 2009

Can Heartland avoid Heartache in Minna?

By Richrad Animam
It looks like it is not do  able but football is not  mathematics.  Tomorrow either in Oleh in Delta State or Minna in Niger State, the winner of the 2009 Premier league will emerge.

•THE CHASE:  Bayelsa United's  Ahmed Kadiri on the heels of John  Chibuike of Rangers during a league match.

•THE CHASE: Bayelsa United's Ahmed Kadiri on the heels of John Chibuike of Rangers during a league match.

The chances of the winner emerging from Oleh appears brighter with league leaders Bayelsa United taking on Warri Wolves in the last match of the season. Wolves are not title contenders having lost three points and three goals to Rangers FC of Enugu last week in Abuja, where the Disciplinary Committee awarded three points and goals to the Enugu side.

From every indication, Bayelsa United which has 69 points from 37 matches look set to be crowned the new league champions. They need a win against Wolves in tomorrow’s game to write their names in the record books and send Heartland back to the drawing board. United has shown consistency and have to a large extent proven that they can be the new kings with their brand of football.

On the other hand, any attempt by Bayelsa  to write off Heartland who will be guests to Niger Tornadoes on Sunday, may be to their peril. The Imo State side like Bayelsa United have proven beyond doubt, that they have what it takes to fly Nigeria’s flag at the CAF Champions League   come next season. From the beginning of the season, Heartland did not hide its intension to win the league.

The quality of players signed and the hiring of a foreign coach, were clear indications that the Owerri side which has not won the league title for so long, was keen on bringing the trophy to Owerri.

Should Wolves defeat Bayelsa in Oleh and Heartland beats Niger Tornadoes in Minna, then the unthinkable would have happened. Any thing other than a clear win in Minna and Heartland will have to fight another day. A draw would do them no good.

No doubt, the past 37 weeks has witnessed an exciting spectacle as the Globacom Premier League has recorded some new heights. This weekend brings to a befitting climax the best of the domestic league. But the question on the lips of many followers of the league is, will Heartland do the unthinkable in Minna?