Eight teams – Remo Stars, Kada City Stars, Kogi United, Delta Force, Insurance, Shooting Stars, Gombe United and Real Stars – qualified for the play-offs from the four groups of the lower league at the end of the season but last week, Remo, Kogi, Delta, Kada, 3SC and Insurance pulled out of the play-offs, leaving only Gombe and Real in the competition.
The Emergency Committee of the NFF had earlier announced that it had directed the commencement of the Super 8. The Emergency Committee said it took the decision after careful consideration of the relevant rules and regulations, contemporary best practice and what is obtainable internationally.
The play-offs was previously scheduled to begin on Wednesday and end on Sunday in Aba but as of Thursday, when the first match was supposed to be played, only three clubs were at the Enyimba Stadium.
However, on Friday, the NFF Emergency Committee in a statement said some of the eight clubs wrote to the federation pleading that their players were unavailable for the competition.
The football-ruling body said it gave the clubs two weeks to get their players ready and also instructed the NNL to ensure that the play-offs were concluded before January 3.
The NFF also paid N2m to the three clubs, who were in Aba for the cancelled play-offs, adding that the five absent clubs would be referred to the appropriate committee of the federation for further decisions on them.
“Following the directive to the eight clubs qualified for the Super 8 Tournament of the Nigeria National League to proceed to Aba for the tournament, we received letters from clubs to the effect that they presently do not have enough players to prosecute the tournament,” the statement read.
“Apparently, most clubs in the country’s leagues sign a good number of their players for only one season. These personnel appear to have floated to other clubs in search of greener pastures.
“In view of the above, and the contrite tone of their letters, the Emergency Committee has opted to allow the affected clubs two weeks to recruit players to beef up their playing personnel, after which they will then prosecute the Super 8.
“The NNL should therefore pick new dates not later than 3rd January for the tournament.
“In the meantime, the matter relating to the five affected clubs will be referred to the relevant NFF committee to deal with while the three clubs that showed up in Aba as directed will each be paid compensation of the sum of N2,000,000 (Two Million Naira Only).”
But some of the clubs, who spoke with our correspondent on Friday, said they would meet on the NFF decision before deciding whether to honour the Super 8 or not.
Shooting Stars’ Team Manager Dimeji Lawal said the clubs would meet to determine the next line of action.
“We received the letter from the NFF stating that we should get our teams ready for the Super 8 but since the decision not to play was earlier taken after a meeting with the other clubs, we will have to meet again after the NNL would have chosen the new dates for the play-offs to decide what we would do next,” he said.
Also, Kogi United chairman Abdul Sule said he would consult with the club management to decide on the instruction.
He said, “The decision cannot be taken by me alone. I will meet with the club’s management and we will decide whether we will honour the play-offs or not.”
Meanwhile, the NFF has instructed the League Management Company to start the 2018 season of the Nigeria Professional Football League on January 13.
The statement from the Glasshouse read, “The League Management Company is hereby advised to ensure the commencement of the NPFL 2018/2019 season, not later that 13th January 2019.”
And in a reaction to the instruction, the LMC released an updated calendar for the season, which revealed that the abridged league season would start on January 13 and end on May 25.
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