Enyimba yet to secure league venue in Calabar
• Rivers United Hosts El Kanemi Warriors
As the 2018 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season begins today, former champions, Enyimba FC of Aba is yet to secure a home venue for its league and international matches. The People’s Elephants played its home matches at the U.J.Esuene Stadium, Calabar last season as its stadium in Aba is still under construction.
Enyimba will commence its season with an away tie to Lobi Stars of Makurdi this afternoon. But the club is in dilemma on where to host its matches as the U.J. Esuene stadium venue in Calabar has not been fixed.
In the past two weeks, Eyimba has been in Calabar apparently trying to secure venue for its matches, but as at yesterday that has not been determined and some players and officials hinted that the team was yet to finalise issues with the State Sports Commission.
The Club side that underwent Pre –season camping at Akure and later returned to Calabar has been alternating training pitches to the dismay of the technical crew and especially the newly signed players. The team is expecting CAF Stadia Inspectors ahead of its Confederation Cup engagements from February.
Some of the players and officials who spoke with The Guardian expressed worry that overtures for the team to train or host friendly matches at the U.J. Esuena Stadium pitches were rebuffed by the proprietors of the facility, adding that their problem is further engrossed as to which venue to brandish when the delegation arrives Nigeria for the inspection.
The Chairman State Sports Commission, Chief Orok Duke said that the Aba side is in Calabar on its own saying: “We are not aware that they intend to use our Stadium as they did last year plus the CAF Cup. You are aware that we supported them throughout last season, and that qualified them for the CAF Cup Championship. Respect is reciprocal and should be upheld as a norm in life. Please ask them if they have any obligation with us as far as the NPFL, which begins this weekend is concern.”
The Chairman of the Enyimba Management Committee, Chief Felix Anyansi will not pick his calls or reply messages placed on his phone concerning the matter.
Meanwhile, Rivers United is set to face visiting El Kanemi Warriors at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt this afternoon.
United largely underwhelmed last season with only a late surge preventing a shock relegation to the second tier of Nigerian football in a season the ‘Pride of Rivers’ flew the flag of the nation in Africa’s premiere club competition, the CAF Champions League.
An official of the club said yesterday that reinforcements had since been made in areas of perceived weakness with areas of strength consolidated.
El Kanemi Warriors is arguably the biggest coup of the transfer window, from a coaching perspective, as they snapped up Imama Amapakabo who was unceremoniously hounded out at Rangers after leading them to a first league title in over three decades.
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