Heartland of Owerri have stated that they never expected to remain Federation Cup champions forever and that they have taken their loss to Akwa United in good faith and are looking forward to the league game against Kaduna United on Sunday with optimism.
The Naze Millionaires were dumped out of the oldest club cup competition on Wednesday by the Uyo side 5-4 on penalties after both sides had ended the tie 1-1 after 90 minutes. It was Heartland's first loss in the competition since their 0-2 quarter final loss to Enyimba in 2010.
The Chairman of the Owerri side, Fan Ndubuoke in a chat with Goal stressed that the management of the club strove to keep the players and coaches in best possible shape ahead of the tie but that it was painful the club lost the way they did.
Ndubuoke however noted that with the club's loss in the Federation Cup all attention would now be geared towards the remaining league games which he reckons is still any club for the taking with the fact that most of the clubs are only separated by few points at both top and bottom of the league table after 22 matches.
"We lost in the quarter final. We tried all what we could do at management level to ensure that we beat Akwa United. The players and coaches were at the Rojenny Sports Complex, Oba before and after their last league game against Warri Wolves. It was from there they left for Kaduna.
"We have lost and then shouldn't brood over it forever. We are not expected to continue to win forever. I knew one day our reign would be ending.
"We need to forget about the loss to Akwa United and face our remaining league matches with renewed spirit and determination to win," Ndubuoke told Goal.
Ninth placed Heartland will remain in Kaduna to play against Kaduna United on Sunday. They have 31 points from 22 games.