Head coach of Heartland, Christian Obi, says the Naija Super 8 playoffs provide a big opportunity for the club’s players to showcase their talent and make money.

The former Nigerian league and cup winners stunned many by landing a spot in the glamorous Naija Super 8 at the expense of other top-flight teams in the South-East, most notably Enugu Rangers.

“I feel very good to be going to the Naija Super 8. It’s a platform to showcase the talents I have in my team and again it’s another opportunity for the players to also have encounters with more experienced players and officials. It’s a plus to us as a team in the sense that it will also prepare us for next season.

“If we scale through the playoffs, it is another opportunity to make some money and it’s an exposure to the players and the officials,” Obi said.

The Naze Millionaires have had a good season, having topped their Nigeria National League group without losing a match. Heartland will face the Nigeria Professional Football League champions, Enyimba, at the Eket stadium June 24. The winner of the tie will represent the South-East zone in the main Naija Super 8 tournament at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos, from July 7 to 16.

Obi added that the club recently overcame an internal crisis, saying his players hunger for success has led them thus far.

“Many people do not know how the team started. The team started with nothing. Ninety-eight per cent of the regular players that played last season when the team was in the Premier League left, the coach also left to Abia Warriors,” Obi stated.

“I had to start from scratch, I organised matches among the teams in Imo State, they played against themselves, so, I had the opportunity of watching them and picking from the lot.

“It was the players I picked that I started grooming, without the help of anybody. I groomed them till the government was able to come in and the seed I sowed in them is what we are seeing today.

“Thank God the players I picked were players that are hungry to play football. They saw an opportunity to showcase their skills and they capitalised on it and that’s what we’re seeing today, that is the secret of the unbeaten run. The players, within a short time, were able to master themselves and we’re playing,” the coach said.

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