Heartland appear undecided about recalling experienced goalkeeper, Ebele Obi (pictured above) – the immediate senior brother of former Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, as well as former captain and midfielder Julius Ubido, Completesports.com can exclusively report.
Obi and Ubido were among the players whose services were considered surplus to requirements by the officials of the Naze Millionaires when the squad was overhauled recently.
Ubido, 34, has spent 13 seasons in Heartland and is known as the club’s longest serving player.
The two were not among the 21 players retained by the club after the 2018/2019 season despite their long service to the club.
New head coach, Fidelis Ilechukwu is understood to have interest in working with the pair of Obi and Ubido based on what close pals of ‘The Working One’ (as Ilechukwu is called by admirers), believe was the value he places on their ‘huge experience on and off the pitch’.
But this is not going down well with some of the officials who reason that Ubido has stayed too long at the club.
Some reckon that if he (Ubido) returns, he would row over the captaincy armband.
“Last season, Ubido and Obi played just a handful of games. Yes, they have experience, but the game belongs to the youth at the moment,” an official posited.
“Besides, if he comes back now, the possibility that he would still want to retain his captaincy is there.
“And should he accept to drop the armband, there could be a kind of disrespect that may lead to division in the team.”
Completesports.com understands that there is plan to compensate the pair, particularly Ubido, with a new role in the team, like making him a member of the coaching staff and sending him on course.
“All I know for now is that Ubido is in talks with management. He’s been frequenting the office, but no final decision has been made,” Completesports.com source further stated
“Truly, the new management recognises his long service to the club. Same for Ebele Obi. But no decision has been reached yet.”
However, a reliable source told Completesports.com that Ubido might not be interested in embarking on a coaching course.
“The Ubido I know may not be interested in coaching. He still wants to play and perhaps retire in a few years time into a different endeavour,” the source – his teammate, stated.
By Sab Osuji