For many footballers in the Nigeria Premier Football League, the name of the game in local parlance is – soldier-go-soldier-come, barracks remain – but in Julius Ubido, Heartland of Owerri has a barrack.
Ubido, who has remained with the Naze Millionaires for 11 years and still counting told Saturday Sunsports exclusively in Owerri after his team’s 0-0 draw against visiting Sunshine Stars of Akure at the Dan Anyiam Stadium that his stay with team is in fulfillment of his dream as a youngster.
The Delta State indigene admitted that Heartland formerly known as Spartans and Iwuanyanwu Nationale has remained a team that he craved for while growing up.
“As a teenager, the team had a kind of flay that I liked and made me crave to be one of them. Then, I would sneak to the stadium just to watch them play anytime they play in Delta State. I dreamed of playing for the team always and in 2006, God made my dream a reality.”
Utobi, who before joining the Naze millionaires had played for Lobi Stars, Makurdi and Ranchers Bees of Kaduna revealed that when he joined Heartland, he knew that he had come to the end of his sojourn in Nigeria.
“After joining Heartland, I told myself that my search for clubs in Nigeria had ended. I am happy playing for Heartland and the fact is that L find peace here. I addition to that, I am married to a woman from here. It’s because I play for the team but because I love her and the people here also love me.”
For a man who despite suffering relegation with the team and remained to return the team to top flight action, Ubido says he has no plans of leaving the Naze side.
“With Heartland, I am a fulfilled player and have won the FA Cup back-to-back in 2011and 2012. Was in the final of the CAF Champions League in 2009 against TP Mazembe and I look forward to helping the team achieve more until I leave to play outside the country. I have found peace here playing at my best.”
The player who made a brief appearance with the Super Eagles under Coach Samson Siasia in the 2012/13 season said he is not done with the national team.
“As a player, it’s ones dream to play for the national team and I had hoped to be in the CHAN squad when the Eagles played in Rwanda but was dropped at the last minute. I have no regrets about it but hope that my time will come when those who appreciate my kind of football would need my services.”
Speaking on a move to Europe to better his career; Ubido stated that when the right opportunity comes, he would try his luck but would not be one to force his way to Europe in search of a team.
The Captain of Heartland Football Club of Owerri, further declared that he is sure the team will do a good job of remaining in top flight football.
Ubido, who was voted Man of the Match and got a gong with the sum of N10, 000 explained that playing in the lower league is not what they wish to return to.
“It was not easy for us to have played in the lower league. It was tough there I must confess and that is why as players we’ve vowed to play out our hearts to ensure we remain in the NPFL. We are aware of the pressure on the team to win matches and we will not fail in our responsibility to do our jobs.
“Our chairman has given us assurances of the Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha to fund the team well. The onus now lies on us to give our best.