By Jacob Ajom
The second leg first round match of the CAF Champions League between Heartland of Owerri and Tiko United of Cameroun was nothing short of war. The visitors were in Owerri to shame the home team as they began the match at the Dan Anyiam stadium with all the seriousness the encounter demanded.
Jondang Joel shook the home sideâ€™s net mid way into the first half and the Camerounians held on till four minutes from time before Heartlandâ€™s Emmanuel Omodiagbe netted the equaliser which qualified them for the next round.
According to the latest fixtures, Heartland are pitched against South African champions, Super Sports FC, and in a fortnight, the Nigerian representatives will be facing the boys from Nelson Mandelaâ€™s country in the first of the two legged encounter. The winner of that match qualifies for the group stage of Africaâ€™s most lucrative club competition.
Skipper of Heartland, Chinedu Efugh, is confident that SuperSports will fall. Efugh who was yet to recover from the shock of nearly falling at home to the rampaging Tiko United from Cameroun said â€œafter overcoming Tiko, I believe we can make it to the final for the second time running. In football you donâ€™t always have it easy, but what we saw against this Cameroun side was not what we expected. But I thank God we were able to make it.â€
Still speaking on the match against Tiko, Efugh said, â€œour pastor predicted that this would happen. He asked us to pray hard that the Camerounians would score first. And that if it rained, we would lose the match. You noticed that it almost rained and it was very difficult for us to equalise. Thank God we have crossed the Tiko huddle.â€
Two goal hero in the first leg, Signswonder, Chibambu was all smiles that they have been pitched against Super Sports of South Africa. After describing the encounter against Tiko as â€œthe final before finalâ€ the Zambian-born striker said with a very good away record, Heartland would do well enough in South Africa to progress.
â€œWe have the experience and pedigree. I believe, we are going to win the cup,â€ Chibambu retorted.