Glo Premier League side, Heartland will wear black armbands and observe a minute silence against Kaduna United in today’s match day 26 clash at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri. The solemn rite is in honour of the side’s fallen heroes in the unfortunate September 18, 1994 Oriental Airline crash at Tamanrasset, Southern Algeria.
Two players, defender Aimola Omale and goalkeeper, Uche Ikeogu as well as the pilot and two crew members died in the plane crash that occurred same night the side then known as Iwuanyanwu Nationale were beaten 0-3 by the Tunisian side, Esperance in the African Champions Cup quarterfinal first leg encounter in Tunis. Nationale drew 1-1 in the return fixture in Owerri and eventually crashed out from the competition on 1-4 aggregate.
Club media officer Cajetan Nkwopara said the side will observe a minute silence as well as wear black armbands as mark of honour to their former players who died in the ill-fated plane crash.”The management has requested the players to observe a minute silence as well as wear black armband against Kaduna United as mark of honour to the colleagues who lost their lives in the service of the club and nation exactly 20 years ago. The management has lined up activities to mark the 20th anniversary of the Oriental Airline crash at Tamanrasset, Southern Algeria starting with the league tie in which it has enjoined the team to win convincingly for the departed souls of the former players,” Nkwopara said.
Heartland captain and centre-back, Chinedu Efugh has said his side are poised to win for the memory of the departed former players of the club.”We’re determined to win the maximum points against Kaduna United and dedicate the win to our fallen colleagues. We pulled a point off Kaduna United in the first fixture in Kaduna and we’re going for the three points this time round,” he said. Heartland are 13th on the 20-team elite league log on 34 points from a possible 75 at the close of match day 25.