The popular saying that blood is thicker than water came to the fore Wednesday as Heartland of Owerri went back memory lane to remember and pray for their players who died in Oriental plane crash in 1994.
The Nazi Millionaires organised a memorial service to honour the dead on one hand and celebrate with the survivors on the other.
Heartland who hope to record impressive run in the premier league this season following beef up in management and renewed interest by new state Governor Emeka Ihedioha, took to the social media to recall the ugly incident stating “25 years on. We remember the 18th September 1994 Oriental Plane Crash at Tamanrasset Algeria which left a painful dent”
The club further recalls that “On this day 25 years ago, at exactly 7:45 am, the dark clouds gathered, a “Big Bang” a moment of confusion, shouts, screams and people moaning in pains.
That was how the saddest day in the history of Heartland came calling. Today a fire brigade alarm is expected to sound at 7:45 am to mark the events of that tragic day of sorrow and pains in a symbolic gesture of paying tribute to the five victims of the Oriental Airline that crashed into a fire brigade building at the Agenat Airport Tamanrasset Algeria.
The ill-fated flight of September 18, 1994 had players and officials of the then Iwuanyanwu Nationale (now Heartland of Owerri) who were in a quest for continental honours.
A year before, the Zambian National team perished in similar circumstance but the case of the Iwuanyanwu Nationale players was different as many miraculously survived the crash”
The dead players were midfielder, Eghomwanre ‘Omale’ Aimanmwosa, and goalkeeper Uche Ikeogu.
Also dead were the pilot who was identified as Captain Amaechi; the co-pilot, Captain Chinedu Ogbonna and an air steward, Obiageli Ezeh.
Badly injured were Okon Ating and 20 others. Among the lucky survivors are former Nigerian skippers, Christian Chukwu, former National Sports Commission director, Steve Olarinoye Bola Oyeyode of the Nigeria Football Federation and Chief Amanze Uchegbulam former NFF 1st Vice president.