Friday, January 7, 2011

Heartland move to replace Siasia

Four foreign coaches are in the race to succeed Samson Siasia as coach of Nigerian Premier League side Heartland.

Club officials told BBC Sport on Thursday that they want to act "swiftly" to replace Siasia.

Former Nigeria striker Siasia left the job at the beginning of December to take over as Super Eagles coach.

Siasia had been in charge of the 2009 African Champions League runners-up for just five months.

Heartland spokesman Cajetan Nkwopara said the club has received "several applications from different parts of the world".

He said: "The management is keen to return the club to being a major force and prove there is life after Samson Siasia."

Dutchman Lodewijk de Kruif, Dorian Marin from Romania, German Siegfried Bahner, former Enyimba coach Milorad Urukalo of Serbia have all applied for the job.

Bahner has previously coached Accra Hearts of Oak in Ghana and Nigeria's Shooting Stars of Ibadan.

Urukalo is fondly remembered for his dramatic but brief stint with Enyimba, the club he led to the 2004 African Super Cup.

"Heartland is a big club in Nigeria and these coaches probably understand that fact," said Nkwopara.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Premier League has condemned Heartland's stadium as unsuitable for Premier League matches.

The decision means Heartland will be forced to use nearby Aba stadium, home of their big rivals Enyimba.

Arguably the most successful Nigerian side, Heartland won the league title in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1993.

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