The Dutchman confessed that a lot has changed in the Owerri side since he went away for six weeks owing to family reasons
De Kruif in a short interview with Goal.com recently disclosed that he has a lot of work to do on the players if the club is to get closer to the one he briefly left late April this year.
The Dutchman guided Heartland to two titles in less than one year of his stay and also marshalled the Owerri based club to about six away draws before his trip to Holland.
De Kruif who was in Aba to watch his club struggle to a 2-1 win in the 2012 Federation Cup Round of 32 against Unicem Rovers of Calabar and opined that a lot has changed in the team.
“To be frank with you, this is not the Heartland I left the other time. There is a lot of work to be done on this team. We won the match 2-1 but the quality of the boys’ game has dropped and the fighting spirit has gone down too,” De Kruif admitted.
"I don't know what happened to them, but it will take some time before they get back into shape again. I intend to do my best to make sure that the players return to good condition for the end of season matches and the Federation Cup," he said.
Ahead of Heartland’s short trip to next door neighbours Enyimba on Thursday, De Kruif pointed out that all hope is not lost as the players know what is at stake as the league season winds up with about six matches to its end.
Heartland are placed 9th on the log with 46 points from 31 matches.