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Dolphins Explain Club Africain Walkover

Dolphins Explain Club Africain Walkover

Dolphins FC arrived in Tunisia at 1pm on Saturday, March 14, 2015 and were scheduled to play a CAF Confederation Cup game against Club Africain at 3pm, same day.

Before we departed from Lagos on Thursday, we had informed the Nigeria Football Federation through Bola Oyeyode, the head of international department and Musa Amadu, the General Secretary, in writing of our challenges and wanted the game moved by one day from Saturday to Sunday.


We arrived in Tunis, via Emirates Airline on Saturday, 14 March 2015 at exactly 1pm. And even though our request to have the game postponed was not granted, we were ready to play as we arrived in good time, though fatigued and travel weary.

On our arrival at 1pm it took the chancery up to two hours before our visas were processed and passports issued to the delegation (note that Tunisian visa to Nigerians from Nigeria are issued at point of entry).

Zenith Ziva

And this was already the kick off time. On conclusion of immigration formalities with the assistance of two Nigerian embassy officials led by M. K. Yusuf we exited the airport building at 3pm. There was no bus to convey the delegation to the stadium. It was at this point a certain Mr. Mahmoud Ouaddeni of the Tunisian Federation showed up.

Our Federation had already written to CAF, who through Khalid Nassar, Deputy Director CAF competitions Division had written to the Tunisian Federation, notifying them of our arrival time, but after more than 20 minutes of waiting, the bus finally came and we departed for the stadium at about 3.20 pm.

On our way to the stadium we sensed that the movement was being stage managed when a Nigerian, Mr. Nnamdi Osuji who lives in Tunis asked the driver why was the bus going round and round the streets of Tunis rather than taking a straight route to the stadium? The Federation official, Mr. Mahmoud Ouaddeni told us that the supporters would stone us if we went straight to the stadium. We arrived the stadium at exactly 4pm and were told we had been walked over by the home team.

The Nigerian ambassador, Dr. Joseph Apeh Omede who was also aware of our arrival was at the stadium ahead of us trying to hold grounds for us.

After this purported walk over, we noticed that there was no hotel reservations made for us as it is the duty of the host club to make those provisions. Instead the host team directed that we should be taken back to the airport from the stadium.

It took the intervention of our ambassador in Tunis, who pressed for them to obey the rules which allows us reasonable time in the country.

From these, it is obvious that the walk over was not only calculated to undermine the efforts of Dolphins FC and Nigeria by extension but done in bad faith by the match officials in collusion with both the host club and the Tunisian Federation.

It is not true that Dolphins did not travel for the game as is being speculated in some sections of the media.

It is also not true that Dolphins were stranded in Dubai and thus didn’t make it to Tunisia.
The team arrived late in Tunisia but in good time to play the game if not for the antics and shenanigans of the home team and Federation.

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  • This is so sad! Sad that most of us Nigerians have negative attitude to planning & timing. Our time mgt is embarrassing & disgusting. Why should we request for postponement of the match? For what? Since when were we informed of the fixture? Who conceived such idea? No reasonable body (not even our NFF) would grant such. And what do you expect from Club Africain officials? Amaju Pinnick leadership should investigate the “show of shame” and punish the club. In another clime, everyone responsible for this would have been dealt with. May God help us in Nigeria &give us good leaders.

  • Michael Omotor 7 years ago

    Tunisia/their clubside have violated CAF ru les for not providing accomodation and a comfortable transportation for the Dolphin s of nigeria.Dolphins should file a petition t o CAF president today.

    • Daniel Olawoyin 7 years ago

      Dear Michael,
      We played into their hands & should be blamed instead of Club Africain. Yes, NFF have lodged complaints with CAF. But for me, that has not changed the fact that our planning was poor. We ought to be in Tunis at least 2days before the match; worst case 24hrs before the match.
      Not even in Nigeria would 2hrs have been sufficient to get your visas processed (say at MMA Ikeja) and your bus get to the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos. Secondly, football is serious business &should be treated as such. They simply applied a strategy any smart business person would use in “red ocean” situation. Why take a risk when you can get the result needed cheaply.

      I pray CAF finds a reason to nullify this and schedule a replay. But we must learn from this.

  • Michael Omotor 7 years ago

    That our dolphins arrived at the nick of tim e for a contest does not warrant an inhuma ne and animalistic treatment from tunisia.D olphins won the match and return leg will b e in nigeria.A contest dolphins won in tunisia can not be replayed in tunisia.Yes C AF president need to mete out some punishment and fine to tunisia for bad con duct.

  • Really? Got to the airport (for visa) 2 hours before a match is the nick of time? God, please help Nigeria. Anyway the rest of Africa don’t see it that way and judgement was given against us some 18hours ago. Its time we begin to see & do things the right way. Please let’s ask ourselves these questions:
    1. What is the ideal time teams should be in the locker room? Bearing in mind the protocols of confirming the players, identity, team lists et al and start match 3pm?
    2. Had we gotten to the venue 1pm would the Tunisians walk over our team or awarded the match?
    3. How would you feel as one of the fans at the stadium if you were told that the match time has been shifted to 5pm instead of 3pm?
    4. Who takes the decision to walk over a team? CAF officials or the host team or both?
    5. Since the team was not stranded as stated, what kept us late?
    CAF has thrown out our appeal and awarded Club Africain the match. We lost! Tunisia won! Why? Wrong attitude to life. Brother Michael we have no one to blame but ourselves. QED