December 17, 2009

Club World Cup ouster pains Heartland coach

By Ben Efe

After watching TP Mazembe stumble at the FIFA Club World Cup in Dubai, Heartland coach, Kelechi Emetole bit his lips and regretted that, it was not his side that was contesting for honours at the world stage.

Emetole’s Heartland needed only a draw in Lubumbashi, Congo DR to land themselves in contention for the FIFA Club World Cup, but they succumbed to pressure and lost to the Congolese by a lone own goal after going ahead 2-1 in the first leg of the CAF Champions League final at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri.

“Of course I regret not being in Dubai with Heartland. It is painful, but that is football.

“We needed to hold on to our lead from the first leg, but we conceded an own goal in Congo.

“It wasn’t that Mazembe, technically were better than us. But they had a lot of cash backing and were a better organised side. It could have been us playing in Dubai, but we have learnt our lesson and hopefully, we want to be there again,” said the coach.

Heartland missed a goal opportunity to make history as the first Nigeria club side to play in the FIFA Club World Cup, when they failed to hold on against the Congolese side in the CAF Champions League final. Heartland had carried a lot of hope as they persecuted the games of the Champions League with vigour, but they missed the chance to be second Nigeria side to win the continental title after Enyimba win it in 2003 and 2004.