Heartland captain and defensive midfielder Julius Ubido believes that God’s favour and sheer determination helped his side to return to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

The Naze Millionaires pipped hosts First Bank FC 1-0 in Wednesday’s Bet9ja Nigeria National League (NNL) matchday 33 clash at the Agege Township Stadium in Lagos to secure their promotion to the top flight with a game to spare against Delta Force FC.

Left winger Ndubuisi Okoro’s lone goal proved adequate to hand the Owerri side the three points at stake.

Ubido said his side are back in the top-flight not to make up the numbers but to challenge for the top prize.

“It is a great feeling to be back in the premier league after a season’s stint in the lower division.

“Heartland did not go down last season because the players could not play the game, but due to internal wrangling.

“People predicted that the relegation would be the end of Heartland but sheer determination and incessant prayers saw us through.

“We knew that a win against First Bank FC would be enough to cement our promotion to the top flight.

“We had to take the match to the opponents and every one of us actually came to the party at the right time.

“First Bank FC had almost nothing at stake in the clash, while we had everything to gain or loss so we gave it our very best.

“I can tell you that Heartland have not only come to stay in the premier league but to challenge for the top prize.

“I think the last match against Delta Force is more or less academic as win or lose we are back in the premier league.

“Maybe the coaches may want to offer opportunity to other players by fielding different players.

“We are excited and grateful to God for helping us to achieve our dream,” said the former Lobi Stars star to supersport.com.

Heartland's win on the road at First Bank FC takes the team's total points haul to 60, five above their closest challengers, Bayelsa United, with a match to spare against Delta Force FC in Owerri.