By Patrick Omorodion
*Sajh says Heartland not fantastic, Emeteole cautious
Scorer of two of theÂ four goals with which Heartland of Owerri defeated visiting Kano Pillars in last Sundayâ€™s first leg CAF Champions League match, Uchenna Agba has said they are confident they will overcome the Pillarsâ€™ hurdle to reach the final of the competition.
Speaking to Saturday Vanguard sports at their hotel base in Owerri on the second leg which was brought forward by one week to today as against October 17, Agba, who has now scored five goals in the Champions League run, said there was no way Pillars could turn the table against them from their 0-4 deficit.
â€œWe are looking beyond Pillars already because there is no way they can defeat us. We have never lost by 3-0 to any team in this country and Kano Pillars cannot start it,â€ he said, adding that they are more determined than ever to win the Cup.
When told of the 5-2 bashing of Al Hilal by TP Mazembe on their own soil in Sudan, the slim built forward said they are not scared of the Congolese side, stressing â€œwhen we meet, we will beat them but letâ€™s finish with Pillars first.â€
His coach, Kelechi Emeteole aka â€˜Caterpillarâ€™ also speaking on todayâ€™s encounter, said that they will keep to their game plan and pray that they scale the Pillars hurdle even though they have not had time to rest or see their families.
Even with the wide margin victory last Sunday, Emeteole said it is not over yet because football is unpredictable, stressing â€œWe still have 90 minutes to play to know our fate, and I have warned my players against becoming swollen headed. We shouldnâ€™t allow the result get into our heads.
â€œThe former national coach of the Beach Eagles said Heartland are aiming to win the cup to protect the image of Kano Pillars and Bayelsa United because â€œall the three teams have raised the image of the country by their performance this year.â€
Continuing, Emeteole,Â who is known for saying it the way it is no mater whose ox is gored said, â€œwe have always prayed that whichever side reaches the final should win it for Nigeria. I am very happy with the 4-0 result and the peaceful atmosphere during the match and hope that the same peaceful atmosphere will prevail in Kano.â€
Despite the respect Emeteole has for the Kano side, his opposite number showed no respect for the Owerri as he told www.cafonline.com that â€œHeartland is not as good as Al-Merrikh (Sudan), Al-Hilal (Sudan) and Zesco United (Zambia) in their style of play. We will exploit the weaknesses we unveiled in the second half of the first leg to our advantage. I am very sure we can overturn the result and go through,â€ he assured.
Meanwhile Agba has cautioned anyone from crediting their 4-0 victory over Pillars to the wrong people, stressing that nobody, not even the government, contributed to the victory as the players were just self motivated by the spirit of Heartland.
â€œThere was no magic in our victory and nobody should bring government into it. We only had the spirit of Heartland as our motivator. We just resolved to play and go on to win the cup and hand it over to our governor (Dr. Ikedi Ohakim),â€ he said at the clubâ€™s Executive Gardens Hotel base in Owerri.