Nigeria’s Heartland FC have petitioned Confederation of African Football, CAF, after they were told by hosts US Bitam in Gabon they have been walked over in a Confederation Cup tie.
Heartland were abandoned in Libreville when they arrived the Gabonese capital city late Saturday as no official of the home team was at the airport to welcome them.
‘The Naze millionaires’ are now heading home after they failed to play a first round second leg match against US Bitam on Saturday due to late arrival.
It was gathered that the Nigerians had sent a message to the Gabonese Football Federation (FEGAFOOT) requesting the postponement of the match to Sunday.
But the communication got to FEGAFOOT around 3p.m. when the referees and match officials were already at the stadium, Secretary General of US Bitam claimed to local radio station Ogooué FM in Libreville.
Continental football governing body, CAF will now decide Heartland’s fate – if the game is to be rescheduled for another date or award a 3 – 0 walkover to US Bitam.
“Our team have been on our own since yesterday (Saturday) that we arrived Gabon. No official of their football federation or host team came to the team to welcome them. This is bad,” said Heartland spokesman Cajetan Nkwopara.
“They told us they have walked over us despite informing them of the flight hitches we encountered. We wrote them to shift the game to Sunday which is the last day for CAF match day.
“We had visa problems. We applied at their embassy in Abuja and they didn’t tell us they don’t issue visa at their embassy in Abuja in time and that was why the air ticket problem happened.
“We believe they should have allowed us play the game on Sunday because we notified them of our plans.”
He further told MTNFootball.com: “We have tabled our case to CAF through the NFF about what happened in Gabon.
“The team are on their way to Lagos now. We thank the Governor, Rochas Okorocha, for sending a chartered aircraft to take us to Gabon and bring us back.”
Last month, Heartland won the first leg in Owerri 2-1.