Proprietor of Downtown Hotel Owerri where players of Heartland Football Club are lodged, Emmanuel Oparanozie, has denied claims that the hotel ejected the players over accumulated debts.
Pictures had emerged of stranded Heartland players sitting on the premises of the DownTown Hotel after they were allegedly denied access to the hotel that served as their home camp following accumulated debts of N700, 000 and another N1 Million incurred by the Heartland Queens Football Club months ago.
When contacted, the general manager of the club, Promise Nwachukwu, debunked the report and he referred our correspondent to the disclaimer from the owner of DownTown Hotel, Sir, Emmanuel Oparanozie who also denied the report.
Oparanozie insisted that neither he nor any other person carried out such an act even as he maintained that he prayed with the players for victory and couldn’t have turned around to lock them out.
He said “I did not lock players out. Before they left, I prayed for them and wished them well. If I wished them well and prayed for them, how can I lock them out? Most of them are still in the hotel here, so it is not right to say that I locked them out,” Oparanozie said.
He however failed to mention or deny that the club management was owing to his hotel the sum of N1.7million.
Heartland FC, five-time winners of the NPFL, have been enmeshed in financial crisis from delayed salaries and allowances which forced them to embark on a protest on the streets of Owerri to register their displeasure, and have affected in no small measures, the club’s fortunes in the league.
A source who pleaded anonymity said the incident happened but the management for fear of harassment from the state government denied the incident, even as he maintained that the club management was owing to the hotel.