Pepsi, the official beverage partner of CAF for all major competitions, has thrown its weight behind Heartland Football Club of Owerri and Kano Pillars FC to excel in the 2009 CAF Champions League.
Both clubs will play their first home matches in the group stage this weekend: Kano Pillars against Al Merrikh of Sudan at Sani Abacha Stadium Kano and Heartland FC against Monomotapa of Zimbabwe at the Dan Anyiam stadium, Owerri.
To motivate the players, Pepsi which has traditionally supported Nigerian club sides campaigning in the group stage of the CAF Champions League, is doling out the sum of N150,000 for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in each of the home matches involving the two Nigerian representatives. The MVP will be picked by the media and technical officials during the matches.
According to Mr. Mazen Al-Masri, spokesman for Pepsi, â€œthis is our way of showing support and motivating the two clubs to go all out for glory and win the cup for Nigeria, even as the country has increased chances this year as this is the first time the country is featuring two clubs at the group stage.â€
Al-Masri charged Heartland and Pillars to emulate Enyimba FC, the only Nigerian club to have won this cup and make the country proud.
Apart from the cash awards, Pepsi is also providing refreshing drinks to energise the players and fans.
In their first away matches two weeks ago, both clubs got contrasting results: while Kano Pillars picked a valuable one point in the 1-1 draw away to Zesco United of Zambia, Heartland FC lost 0-2 to former champions TP Mazembe of Congo DR. It is expected that the Nigerian representatives will put simile on the faces of their teeming supporters this weekend.