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Heartland Revival: Ekeji Interviews Ekwueme, Etuemena, Ifeanyi For GM Job

Heartland Revival: Ekeji Interviews Ekwueme, Etuemena, Ifeanyi For GM Job

Former Super Eagles left winger, Ifeanyi Ekwueme (pictured above) and Hon. Chibuzor Goodfaith Etuemena are understood to be in line for the vacant position of Heartland FC General Manager as Dr Pat Ekeji – the newly appointed Chief of Staff (Administration) to the Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, swings into action in his bid to revive the State-sponsored NPFL side, Completesports.com has exclusively gathered.

Ekeji, who recently headed a committee to review the Imo State Sports Commission Law, the report of which he has equally handed over to the governor, has shifted attention to clean the ‘mess’ in the five time Nigeria champions, Heartland.

Completesports.com checks in Owerri reveal that Ekeji has interviewed four aspiring candidates for the General Manager position in the club. The position is currently occupied by Godfery Onyemaobi on acting capacity following the suspension of Chukwudi Ifeanyi in a controversial manner.

Those interviewed included the suspended GM, Chukwudi Ifeanyi, former chairman of the club during Governor Rochas Okorocha’s administration as governor of Imo State, Chief Goodfaith Etuemena ‘Bash’, Godfery Onyemaobi and Ifeanyi Ekwueme who is the current Sporting Director of the club.

The salient areas the former Green Eagles player and coach, and onetime Director General of National Sports Commission (NSC) emphasised during the separate interview sessions were the area of marketing and sponsorship so as to know how the incoming General Manager could source for funds to bail out the club in times of extreme emergencies.

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“Initially, government wanted to hear from the suspended GM (Ifeanyi Chukwudi) before taking a decision. And after holding talks with him last March, we thought he was going to resume work early last month given Governor Hope Uzodinma’s body language after meeting with Chukwudi,” a Government House official who was privy to the meeting told Completesports.com on condition of anonymity.

“But perhaps, the Coronavirus pandemic and its attendant lockdown and disruption of social, economic and political life as well as its health implications ensured that things were kept on hold.

“Now, Pat Ekeji, who is well versed in sports has come in as Chief Of Staff [Administration]. With sports in his portfolio, he decided to open things up by giving everybody a fair chance. So far, he has interviewed four persons; Ifeanyi Ekwueme, Chukwudi Ifeanyi, Godfery Onyemaobi and Hon. Chibuzor Etuemena ‘Bash’.

“They were drilled on areas of marketing and sponsorship, as a GM is exepected to raise funds for the club when government money is yet to come. This is important given the economic realities in the country at the moment.

“No decision has been taken so far as regards the choice candidate, but I tell you, this area of sourcing for funds will play a major role in determining who amongst the four would get the job.”

In the past, Heartland FC enjoyed the financial backing of Dana Airline who flew the team to away matches. They also partnered Boluspor, a second tier league team in Turkey who assisted the club with a coach and jerseys amongst other benefits.

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