MADAGASCAR TIE: CRISIS ROCKS EAGLES' CAMP
All is not well in the camp of the Super Eagles a few days to the crucial Nations Cup encounter in Madagascar, as a three-man cabal almost pulled out of the journey to Antananarivo on Wednesday, alleging that the Nigeria Football federation (NFF) was toying with their lives.
The first leg of the crisis started in the stadium when the players rounded off their training at the National Stadium, Abuja on Wednesday evening. The players protested what they called shoddy travelling arrangement to Antananarivo by the Glass House, describing it as threat to their lives.
Daily Sunsports correspondent, who witnessed the protest, learnt that the players expressed disappointment over the poor state of the aircraft chartered for the journey. Besides, it was gathered that the aircraft was scheduled to refuel in Congo Brazzaville.
Lille's new goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, who spoke on behalf of the players, told the chief coach, Samson Siasia, and other officials present at the stadium that such flight arrangement was scary and uncomfortable to them. He specifically made reference to the better arrangement the management of Enyimba FC of Aba made during the CAF Champions League finals in Egypt. He noted that if a club such as Enyimba could charter direct flight, why can't a richer Federal Government make better arrangement for a flight to take them direct to Antananarivo.
'Coach, I want to tell you that we are not happy with the travelling arrangement the federation made for us. This idea of stopping over to refuel or for one reason or the other makes the flight very scaring. This country is rich enough to give us a chartered flight to take us direct to Madagascar.'During my days at Enyimba, the management use to charter direct flight to Egypt and other African countries without any stoppage. This country is rich enough to do it for the most senior national team,' he noted.
Pressing their case further, the players angrily gave the federation the option of allowing them to fly directly to match venue from their base instead of coming to the country to risk their lives with the shoddy flight arrangements, warning that it must stop forthwith.'If they know that they want to continue making this type of arrangement for us, they should instead allow us to fly direct to the host country from our base.'We cannot be risking our lives with this kind of flight. We sacrifice much for this country and our patriotism should be appreciated', the players raged.
Although Siasia and his assistant, Ike Shoromu, tried in vain to calm down the players, Siasia's order for closing prayers ended the first leg of the development in the Stadium. In the second phase, the three-man cabal: Enyeama, Mikel Obi and Victor Anichebe refused to join the team's bus from their Transcorp Hilton Abuja camp, delaying the flight billed to take off by 8.30 pm until 11.30pm.
However, when Daily Sunsports called on a member of the NFF executive board, who spoke on condition of anonymity, to react to the development, he blamed the situation on absence of a functional organising committee, which makes the General Secretary, Barrister Musa Amadu, to take charge of the role unsupervised.
'What do you expect when the president has refused to inaugurate an organising committee who should take charge of arrangements like this?