Cash-strapped Delta Queens walked over in FA Cup
Unless Governor Ifeanyi Okowa acts immediately, Delta State’s legacy as Nigeria’s number one in sports may soon be a thing of the past.
Since the return to democratic government in 1999, Delta State has dominated the nation’s sports, emerging first position in five National Sports Festival out of seven editions, among other notable achievements.
But what appears a downward trend for Delta sports may have set in, following alleged failure by the state to provide funds for its teams to attend competitions.
One of the nation’s pillars in women football, Delta Queens FC, has suffered its biggest humiliation, after being walked over by Nasarawa Amazons in the prestigious Challenge Cup, following their inability to travel to Lafia due to lack of funds.
The Guardian learnt that Delta Queens, which had produced star players for the various national teams, including Precious Dede, Vera Okolo, Joy Jegede and Desire Oparanozie, failed to honour the game against Nasarawa Amazons in Lafia, after several efforts by club officials to raise money from the Governor’s Office in Asaba failed.
“We are out of the Challenge Cup, and this is sad,” one technical official of Delta Queens lamented in a chat with The Guardian yesterday. “It is so painful we could not raise money to travel to Lafia. We were walked over,” the official added.
Apart from Delta Queens FC, the state’s flag bearer in the 2015 DSTV Premier Basketball League, Delta Force, narrowly escaped relegation last week, due to what an official described as ‘poor’ financial state of the club.
The once bubbling Delta Force finished with only 17 points in the Atlantic Conference, but escaped the drop for having better aggregate score in the season than Police Machine, which had been relegated.
Perhaps, one major concern for sports lovers in Delta State at the moment is the alleged ‘poor’ financial state of Warri Wolves in the Nigeria Premier League.
It was emerged yesterday that Wolves were nearly walked over at home by visiting Enyimba of Aba last weekend due to financial crisis.
Wolves’ players and officials were said to be owed five months salaries and a backlog of unpaid match allowances, including matches they won before crashing out from the 2015 CAF Confederation Cup.
As at yesterday evening, officials of Warri Wolves were still running from pillar to post in their bid to raise money for their away league game against FC Taraba in Makurdi.
“I don’t know how to describe the situation on ground here. We are supposed to play FC Taraba in Makurdi on Thursday, but as we speak, we don’t have money for the trip. The officials and even our players are worried because there is no sign of improvement in sight. By the end of July, it will be six months unpaid salary, and that is not good for the state,” one club official said yesterday.