Ozurumba: I didn’t get enough chance to play for Eagles


Former Iwuanyanwu National and Heartland FC of Owerri forward Chibuzor Ozurumba believes that his exploit in the Nigeria domestic league during his playing days should have earned him a chance to play for the national teams.

Ozurumba was a household name in the Nigeria domestic league during his playing career. He was a star striker in the colour of Heartland FC and his outstanding performance got him the league highest goal scorer in 2003 season.

But despite playing for six different clubs in the domestic league and his ability to cause a nightmare for the defenders and goalkeepers in the opposing side, Nigerian national team coaches refused to give him a chance to prove his mettle with any of the country’s national teams both at youth and national level, the situation, Ozurumba said he has left for God.

The lanky forward stressed that he would have replicated his feat in the league at the national team had the national team coaches considered him, insisting that he is a natural goal scorer.

“I was not given a chance at the national level even when I won the first premier league highest goal scorer. Still, I was not given a jersey to represent Nigeria. I have left everything for God, but one thing still remain that, I am one of the real and natural goal scorer. I don’t play penalties; I just score in a normal game,” Ozurumba stated.

Having served the club diligently as a player, Ozurumba is currently among the coaching crew at Heartland FC. “I am the Team Manager of the under 15 youth’s team, a coach that handles the strikers; I do stay and give instructions to players.”

Heartland FC are fifth on the log with 12 points in the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season, however, Ozurumba has applauded the managerial skills of the club’s chairman Barrister Charles Ezekwem for the way he is handling the club.

Under Ezekwem leadership, the Nazi Millionaires had won a match on the road when they beat Kwara United 1-0 at the Ilorin Township Stadium, Kwara State.

Ozurumba maintain that Heartland FC are now being managed professionally and he believes the team will soon be among the top team in the league, the position he stressed has eluded the Owerri-based outfit in the past six years. “Kwara United win was very sweet and rewarding. Everyone is happy for the result.

The board chairman Charles Ezekwem deserved it for his strong support, dedication, sincerity and believe towards Heartland FC project.

He explained:  “His sacrifice is wonderful. His personal money has rescued Heartland FC in so many ways. His relationship with the players is excellent. His fatherly role is spot on. What we have now in Heartland FC is what we call a professional club side where things are done in a transparent way. “Part of the restructuring in the team was the signing of a new coach Fidelis Ilechukwu at beginning of the season, and Ozurumba said the appointment of the “working one” as Ilechukwu is fondly called by his admirer, has changed the atmosphere in the team for good.

“Ilechukwu is a magician. He has dedicated himself to making sure Heartland FC story change for the better. The players are in high spirit. It is no longer business as usual in the part of the management where greed and sentiments where their trademark and other of the day in the last six years. Things have changed for the better.

“We now have what we call the right people at the helm of affairs in Heartland FC. The chairman whom I call ‘the chairman general’ because of his strong character and strength for Heartland FC, deserve praise.

“The fear of Ezekwem-led management board in Heartland FC is the beginning of doing the right thing. Heartland FC in the last six years has suffered because of bad management and players. “Man-know-man was the other of the day before this current management board came onboard. But I can assure you that under Ezekwem, Heartland FC will continue to grow.

“And don’t forget that we have a governor who understands football very well and he has been the financial pillar of Heartland FC. Even though we still have room for improvement in every aspect of the club, the governor has belief and faith in Ezekwem led management board because of what he (Ezekwem) did with PDP that gave his party victory in the last election,” the former Bayelsa United striker said.

Ozurumba played alongside players like Romanus Orjinta, Ndidi Anumunu and former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama among others at Heartland and he is still hold a firm belief that Nazi Millionaires can produce quality players for the national teams.

He continued: “What we ask for is patience from our fans to get the job done. Heartland FC is playing away from their original home which could also be against us, but we will never relent in our resolve to get it right and also change the club for the better.

“A man like Ezekwem, who was the Team Manager of ‘Greater Tomorrow’ that produced the likes of Kanu Nwankwo, Mobi Oparaku, Collins Zigima, Ekenna Nnado and other, a former football player right from the days of Immanuel College Owerri up to the level of travelling to the US major league for trials, can never be a novice in the running of Heartland FC.

“Just like what his Excellency Governor of Imo State Emeka Ihedioha and his rebuild Imo agenda that have started yielding positive results, so is Heartland FC under Ezekwem… Imo and Heartland FC must be better.”

The former Enyimba FC of Aba forward said that club’s target this season is to have a strong squad that would take the team to the top: “Our target is to have a strong team. And from there we will move to the next level which is the continental. You know this club is a continental team which was destroyed in the last six years after the era of Chief Okeahialam. But what we have on ground is what will take us back to the top.”

So far 11 matches have been played in the ongoing 2019/2020 NPFL season with clubs securing victories in away matches much to the delight of Ozurumba.

“The league body is putting good efforts to make sure that the league is well structured and standard league in a situation that clubs go away from home to win games without fight. There’s always room for improvement,” the former Wikki Tourists FC of Aba stated this on the state of the league.

Ozurumba played for Iwuanyanwu national/Heartland FC, Enyimba FC, defunct Sharks FC of Port Harcourt, Rangers International, Akwa United, Wikki Tourists and Bayelsa United at the local scene while he laced his boot for an Asian club Muktijoda in Bangladesh.

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