Heartland coach Fidelis Ilechukwu says he is confident the Imo State government – owners of the club – will soon clear the outstanding debt they owe the team.
Players and officials of the 5-time league champions are being 5 months salaries, and this situation has been attributed to the lingering management issues at the club.
But in an exclusive interview with www.busybuddiesng.com, the former MFM coach exonerated the team’s management from the unpaid wages bedeviling Heartland, saying “we will be patiently waiting for our money”.
“I don’t think it is the management’s fault right now because the government have not given any subvention to the management, neither did they pay to the players,” Ilechukwu said. “So, if the government paid the management, and they (management) didn’t pay us, I think the players and backroom staff will react.
“But right now, the government have not paid, it is open that they have not paid, they have not given us. It is not only us. Even Pensioners too in the state are crying because they have paid them. So, we are waiting to see what is going to happen.”
On eventually getting paid, he added: “But I believe in Governor Hope Uzodinma because he came during our game against Sunshine Stars. He has given us hope that we are going to smile.
“Maybe, there are one or two issues (delaying the payment), but I believe very soon, everything is going to be sorted out. So, we will be patiently waiting for our money.”
Ilechukwu joined Heartland from MFM in August 2019, after spending 13 years with the Olukoya Boys, guiding to the CAF Champions League in 2017 when they finished second in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) behind champions, Plateau United.
Heartland were placed 13th on the NPFL log with 32 points from 25 matches before the season was indefinitely suspended on 18 March over fears of the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.