Akwa Ibom State yesterday demanded an apology from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to the government and people of the state if reports in the media that Super Eagles’ home matches would no longer be played in Uyo were true.
The state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh described the reasons advanced for the purported move of future Super Eagles matches out of Uyo after the recent 2 – 0 loss to the Bafana Bafana of South Africa as weak and baseless.
He maintained that the team had the best of support from the government and people of Akwa Ibom State, and the NFF should not have contemplated such move, if at all it did.
Udoh said, “the 30,000 capacity facility in Uyo remains the best-maintained stadium in Nigeria and ranks among the best in the world,” stressing that “at no point in time were the Nigerian players booed throughout the duration of the match against South Africa, as would have been the case in other venues.”
Udoh dismissed the excuse that the distance from Le’Meridien Ibom Hotel to the stadium was one of the reasons for the poor result posted by the Eagles, saying it could not have been because the Bafana Bafana team was also lodged at the same facility and covered the same distance before the match.
He stated that on the contrary, the Ibom Le’Meridien Hotel & Golf Resort was a nice environment for good team bonding.“If truly the next Super Eagles Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Cameroun, earlier scheduled for Uyo, has been moved to Port Harcourt, as reported, then the Nigeria Football Federation would have to apologise to the government and people of Akwa Ibom,” he said.
Udoh recalled that it was at the same stadium in Uyo that the Super Eagles played brilliant football and beat Algeria, stressing that the support from football fans at the magnificent stadium has always been massive.
The Information Commissioner emphasised that instead of throwing blames in the wrong direction, the NFF should critically analyze the last match, with a view to identifying lapses and making adequate preparations for the next matches.