Rivers United Fault NFF Over CAF’s Decision To Move Their Confed Cup Games To Uyo
The Nigerian Professional Football Club, Rivers United, are not happy that the Nigeria Football Federation did not do enough to make them play their CAF Confederations Cup group games in Rivers State.
Initially, Rivers United intended to play their Confederations Cup games at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt. They also selected Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo as an alternative venue for their continental games this season.
But, according to a statement Rivers United released on Sunday, the NFF led by President Ibrahim Gusau, failed to diligently follow up on the process that would have granted them the opportunity of playing their CAF games in River state.
Hence, the club’s statement alleged that the NFF president and other unnamed individuals in Nigeria’s football governing body sabotaged their effort and made CAF believe that the club didn’t have a standard stadium to play their Confederations Cup home games.
After CAF announced that Rivers United would play their home games in Uyo, the PFAN Taskforce Chairman, Harrison Jalla alleged that the club chose to play in Uyo while registering for the tournament.
However, Rivers United’s statement on Sunday insisted that the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium was their first choice for the Confederation Cup games and that they mentioned Godswill Akpabio Stadium as an alternative in line with the usual practice.
Rivers statement read: “The Confederation of African Football (CAF) wrote to the NFF via an email dated December 15, 2022, to, between the 23rd and 27th of December 2022, carry out a routine inspection of the football pitch of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt (home ground of Rivers United FC) ahead of the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup.
“The correspondence from CAF also requested for an alternate venue to be named by Rivers United FC. This is standard procedure for clubs participating in Inter CAF club competitions. Accordingly, the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo was named by Rivers United FC as an alternate venue.
“On January 5, 2023, CAF, as a result of the failure of the NFF to provide any kind of response to its earlier correspondence, wrote again to the NFF stating that Rivers United FC had no venue to play its group stage matches.”
Amidst that, the NFF reportedly told Rivers United that CAF had ordered the club to play at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja instead of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt which is said to be having a bad playing surface.
The club continued: “It was at this point that Nasiru Jibrin the facility officer of the NFF now contacted Rivers United giving the excuse that he too was not informed of the letter even when he was copied by CAF in the original email.
“Jubrin then informed Rivers United FC that he would contact CAF, putting forward excuses which he claimed would allow the African Football Confederation to give a waiver to gain time to enable him to carry out a supplementary inspection of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium thus raising suspicion to CAF on Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium as expressed by CAF earlier that Rivers United FC has no Stadium ready to play CAF matches.
“He then asked Rivers United to take photos of the Stadium and pitch and forward them to him as he was, at the time, in Algeria for duties related to the African Football Championships (CHAN).
“A few days later, the NFF sent Aliyu Ibrahim (Ali Cairo) to Port Harcourt and conducted another inspection of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, and, subsequently, the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo. On further inquiry, we were very reliably informed that Ali sent the photos he took at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt to Jibrin who wrote a damning report of the facility in Port Harcourt.
“CAF based on the delay, suspiciously and duly acted on Jubrin’s report, and Rivers United was then ordered to play its group stage games of the 2022-23 CAF Confederation Cup at the alternate venue earlier picked – the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.”