Heartland F.C

Arena/Stadium: Okigwe Township Stadium

Owners – N/A

Chairman: Charles Ezekwem

Manager: Fidelis Ilechukwu

Nickname(s): Soccer Scientists, Spartans, Naze Millionaires, The Hearts

Founded: 1976

 History
Season League Rank Played Points W/D/L Goals Players
2017/2018 NPFL 20 24 20 8/10/6 20:16
2018/2019 NPFL GROUP B 6 22 31 9/4/9 25:22
2019/2020 NPFL 13 25 32 9/5/11 21:21

Heartland could perhaps be the only Nigerian club side that has had two name changes but never legally permanently changed ownership. Founded as Spartans FC of Owerri in 1976 by the then newly created Imo State, it became Iwuanyanwu Nationale in 1985 and was returned to Imo State in 2006 by businessman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu who funded it for 20 years.

The club shares history of formation with two other prominent Southeast clubs, Rangers International and Enyimba International, all of whose formation was superintended by Chief Jeremiah Enyeazu, a former Director of Sports in the Old East Central State and Imo State.

At inception, Spartans FC was made up largely of the Imo State National Sports Festival team dubbed Trojans that won the gold medal of the football event of the 1977 National Sports Festival hosted by Kaduna. After several years of moderate performances, Spartans FC became a force to reckon with in National football from 1979 when it finished second in the National League qualified and followed through with another impressive run in 1981 but narrowly missing the National division one league title on the final day to regional rivals, Rangers International.

That feat was sufficient for them to represent Nigeria in the WAFU Club Cup in 1982 and they went all the way to the final but were edged 1-0 on aggregate by Secondi Hasacas of Ghana. Three years after the impressive WAFU outing, Spartans FC experienced funds paucity and an undertstanding was reached with Philanthropist and businessman, Iwuanyanwu who accepted to take over the club and in 1985 he renamed it Iwuanyanwu Nationale. His takeover attracted national media attention when he sent 42 players and eight officials to Brazil in January 1986 on three weeks training tour.

They would place second in the 1986 season and from 1987-1990, captured the Nigeria league crown including the inaugural edition of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). It was also the period the media nicknamed the club, the Naze Millionaires and they went on to add to their laurels another league title in 1993.The Owerri side also have in its trophy cabinet, five FA Cup titles won as Iwuanyanwu Nationale three times and twice as Heartland FC in 2011 and 2012.

Heartland as the club is known today may not have had an illustrious run as its predecessor but It also has enjoyed some performances of note such as the second place finish in the 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons behind Kano Pillars and Bayelsa United respectively.

Heartland also won Federation Cup back to back in 2011 and 2012 at the expense of Enyimba and Lobi Stars Heartland suffered a major setback, the first in its history across the three names when in the 2016 Nigeria Professional Football League season, it finished on the 18th position and relegated to theNigeria National League. However, it regained a place in the NPFL the next season and hasretained the spot As Iwuanyanwu Nationale, Heartland flourished and made marks on the continent, though failing to win any major continental title.

It reached the CAF Champions Cup finals in 1988 but lost to Entente Setif of Algeria 4-1 on aggregate. In1990 and 1991, they were eliminatedat the semi-final stage by Nkana Red Devils of Zambia and SC Villa of Uganda respectively. Following their 5th league title success in 1993, Heartland were back on the continent and this timewith the season’s top marksman, Tony Nwaigwe and then youngster Nwankwo Kanu who would inyears ahead win the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the Olympics gold medal. In the course of their campaign for the Africa Club Cup championship, the team was involved in a plane crash near Tamaransett, Algeria before eventually getting knocked out by Esperence of Tunisia. After many years absence on the continent, Heartland were back in 2000 but lost in the semi-final to eventual Champions, JS Kabylie of Algeria.

Nine years after that, the club was to reach another finals, beating another Nigerian side, Kano Pillars 5-0 aggregate before losing to TP Mazembe in the finals on away goals rule. In 2010, Heartland could only muster a group stage finish in the CAF Champions League.

Heartland played in the 2011 and 2012 editions of the CAF Confederation Cup but were on both occasions eliminated at the preliminary stages including a walk-over by US Bitam of Gabon in 2013 due to travel booking lapses that saw them arriving late at the match venue. It will take a whole book to list important players who have been fielded by Heartland but the most prominent include former Super Eagles captain, Uche Okechukwu, Kanu, Ben Iroha, late Thompson Oliha and winger, Friday Elaho. There are also Mobi Oparaku, Friday Ekpo, Etim Esin, Edward Ansah and most recently, Super Eagles goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa.

2017/2018 NPFL League Table

PosClubPWDLFAGDPts
12413472516943
224125727171041
324911430171338
42491142316738
52411492720737
62411492123-237
724113102822636
82481062016434
9249782222034
10248971915433
1124103112224-230
122492132629-329
132485111721-429
142485112126-529
15247892128-729
162485111623-729
172477102326-328
18248792227-528
192484122030-1028
202458111527-1220

2018/2019 NPFL League Table Group B

PosClubPWDLFAGDPts
12211563224838
22211472819937
32211381818036
42210393028233
5229492520531
6229492522331
7229491926-731
8227961814430
9228681919030
102293102125-430
11227691623-727
122243151124-1315

2019/2020 NPFL League Table

PosClubPWDLFAGDPts
125147436152149
225136628151345
32512762619743
42410772520537
520113630201036
62581162322135
72481062718934
82681082626034
9259792729-234
10249781825-734
11249692523233
1225103122528-333
132595112121032
142587101919031
152587102324-131
162586112328-530
172585122727029
182592142535-1029
192584132333-1028
202562171747-3020

2020/2021 NPFL League Table

PosClubPWDLFAGDPts
1381914553242971
238181284133866
3381981148282065
4382051355381765
538197123829964
6381891148361263
7381881243311262
838177144339458
9381491545351051
10381312133435-151
1138155183747-1050
1238147173542-749
1338139164350-748
14381211154842647
1538129174047-745
16381112152839-1145
17381110172946-1743
1838118193045-1541
1938912173350-1739
2038510232055-3525

Fixtures

Results

Okigwe Township stadium

Warri Township Stadium

Pantami Stadium, Gombe

Okigwe Township stadium

Enyimba International Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Nest of Champions, Uyo

Okigwe Township stadium

Aper Aku Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

FC Ifeanyi Ubah International Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Godswill Akpabio International Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Enyimba International Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Lafia Township Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Pantanmi Stadium, Gombe

Okigwe Township stadium

Sani Abacha Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Kwara Sports Stadium, Ilorin

Okigwe Township stadium

Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Akure Township Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Agege Stadium, Lagos

Okigwe Township stadium

Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna

Okigwe Township stadium

Yakubu Gowon Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

New Jos Stadium, Jos

Okigwe Township stadium

Muhammadu Dikko Stadium

Sani Abacha Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Nest of Champions, Uyo

Okigwe Township stadium

Agege Stadium, Lagos

Okigwe Township stadium

Pantanmi Stadium, Gombe

Okigwe Township stadium

Godswill Akpabio International Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Enyimba International Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Warri Township Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

FC Ifeanyi Ubah International Stadium

Lafia Township Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Kwara Sports Stadium, Ilorin

Okigwe Township stadium

Pantami Stadium, Gombe

Okigwe Township stadium

Aper Aku Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Yakubu Gowon Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Pantami Stadium, Gombe

FC Ifeanyi Ubah International Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba

Okigwe Township stadium

Krisdera Hotel Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

New Jos Stadium, Jos

Okigwe Township stadium

Godswill Akpabio International Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

El-Kanemi Sports Stadium, Maiduguri

Okigwe Township stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Umuahia Township Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Bako Kontagora Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Lafia Township Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Sani Abacha Stadium

Pokistum Township Stadium, Potiskum

Okigwe Township stadium

Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Akure Township Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Sani Abacha Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

El-Kanemi Sports Stadium, Maiduguri

Okigwe Township stadium

Yakubu Gowon Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Godswill Akpabio International Stadium

Muhammadu Dikko Stadium

Agege Stadium, Lagos

Okigwe Township stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

FC Ifeanyi Ubah International Stadium

Confluence Stadium, Lokoja

Okigwe Township stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Krisdera Hotel Stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Okigwe Township stadium

Leagues
Nigeria Professional Football League
Seasons
NPFL 2017/2018, NPFL 2018/2019 GROUP B, NPFL 2018/2019, NPFL 2019/2020, NPFL 2020/2021
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