The third edition of the annual South-East/South-South Preseason football tournament scheduled to hold from Tuesday, August 20 until August 28, 2019 at the Neros Stadium, Nanka, Anambra State, has been put on hold, due to issue with the state’s football association,Completesports.com reports.
18 clubs, comprising five Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) sides; Rangers, Heartland, Delta Force, Rivers United and Abia Warriors, as well as other NNL and NLO teams had confirmed their participation in the one-week festival of football before it it was called off hours before the opening match between holders, Cynosure FC and Delta Force on Tuesday morning.
Completesports.com understands that the South-East/South-South Preseason Tournament could not go on as scheduled following a letter by the Anambra State Football Association distancing itself from the tournament.
The host FA in the letter claimed it did not know who the organisers were, accusing them of constituting breach to public peace.
The letter signed by the FA Secretary, Chijioke Onyedika, warned clubs from the (Anambra) State to stay away from the tournament or face disciplinary sanctions.
It further advised sister FAs to guide their clubs accordingly.
“It has come to the notice of the Anambra State Football Association that a group of unknown persons are purportedly organizing a football tournament by name SE/SS pre-season football tournament scheduled to kickoff on Tuesday the 20th day of August, 2019 at Neros Stadium Nanka, Anambra State,” the FA letter read in part.
“The FA hereby states that this competition is not known to them. The FA declares this competition as illegal.
“The FA hereby warns all affiliate clubs from both the state and outside the state to stay away from this competition with immediate effect.
“Any team and technical attaches who participates in this competition shall be seriously dealt with in line with NFF statutes and code of conduct.
“The FA hereby summons the organizers of this tournament to it’s Secretariat before 24hours to explain why sanctions would not be placed on them for attempting to breach public peace.
“Furthermore, all sister FAs are hereby requested to guide their clubs accordingly,” the Anambra FA’s statement concluded.
Consequently, all the NPFL clubs have pulled out of the tournament, thus, ensuring the tournament did not hold.
Completesports.com understands that in line with the FA’s directive for the organisers to appear before it at Awka on Tuesday, the meeting did not resolve the logjam as the FA demanded that the organisers wait until Friday when they should again appear before the full FA board.
When Completesports.com tried to reach the Anambra FA Secretary on phone concerning the impasse, there was no response from the other end as the phone rang without anyone answering.
Some of the frustrated club officials were irked that after spending money to bring their teams to Nanka, they were stopped from realising their mission.
“This is the kind of things retarding the growth and development of football in the state,” fumed one of the clubs’ officials.
“Even the small business the people of Nanka would have made from these 18 clubs, including the hotels, have been rubbished, its sad,” the official lamented.
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