Club Managers go against NPFL sept. 2 resumption date.

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Some of the clubs in the Nigeria Professional
Football League (NPFL) on Thursday in Abuja kicked
against the planned resumption of 2017/2018 league
season on Sept. 2.
These club officials, while reacting to the new resumption
date, urged the League Management Company (LMC) to
rather end the competition as it is presently.
The club managers added that LMC should declare the
clubs leading on the league’s table as the country’s
representatives in continental competitions next year.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the
league’s resumption after its 2018 FIFA World Cup break
was suspended by the LMC in July owing to the NFF
crisis.
The league organising company however rolled out a
schedule of the outstanding fixtures on Wednesday, with
the Proposed Revised Schedule having Match Day 25
fixtures on Sept. 2.
The schedule has the league ending on Oct. 28 with the
Match Day 38 fixtures.
Chibuzor Etuemena, the Chairman of Heartland Football
Club of Owerri, said the new schedule of matches would
not only impose financial burden on the clubs but also
reduce competition.
“Apart from the financial constraints which the clubs will
face, any crash programme now in terms of the
rescheduling of outstanding matches will not produce
quality champions,’’ he said.
Etuemena noted that the leadership tussle in the Nigeria
Football Federation (NFF) has adversely affected the
league competitions in the country.
“The crisis has already taken its toll on everyone,
particularly the clubs who mostly depend on monthly
subventions to prosecute their games.
“Now, it is practically impossible to meet the schedule of
fixtures released by the LMC in financial terms,’’ he said.
The club chairman also said he found it foolhardy to
subject players to such a rigorous schedule in view of the
likely medical implications.
“In addition, since they are human beings, the quality of
games to be witnessed in the NPFL will be undesirable.
“So, my humble suggestion is that the LMC should declare
an emergency ending of the 2017/2018 league season and
nominate the three leading clubs on the table to represent
Nigeria in the CAF Champions League and Confederation
Cup,’’ he said.
Speaking also, the General Manager of Rangers
International FC of Enugu, Davidson Owumi, said it would
be impossible to prepare the teams technically with the
announced schedule.
“With the way things are today, the teams will have to first
of all fortify their squads well enough, and it may not be
possible to carry out a proper technical preparation for
that.
“If anything, the doctrine of fire brigade approach will still
be seen to be much in existence in our football.
“The result of this is surely well known and it will leave us
where we had been.’’
Paul Bassey, the General Manager of Uyo-based Akwa
United FC, was equally in agreement with his colleagues,
saying an early ending of the season would even be more
beneficial than expected.
“Ending the league season now will afford the continental
representatives for next season ample time to reorganise
their squads, prepare technically and register properly
before November ending,’’ he said.
NAN reports that registration of clubs and players for the
2019 CAF season usually hold in November.
Bassey added that if the domestic leagues were ended
now, participating clubs would use the available time for
preparations for the 2018/2019 season which has already
kicked off in other countries.
“Clubs in the NPFL, Nigeria National League (NNL) and the
Nationwide League One (NLO) will use the opportunity to
prepare for a new season, and the 2018/2019 season has
already kicked off in other countries as we all know,’’ he
said.
Bassey also contended that Akwa United presently lacked
the financial and technical ability to play three matches
within eight days across the country.
“Playing matches from Sunday to Wednesday to Sunday
and then Wednesday will be difficult for us, and criss-
crossing Nigeria is an added problem.
“Let us not forget that clubs which go to Maiduguri and
Damaturu on Sunday usually cannot make it back home till
Tuesday evening, and if you add that to the Aiteo Cup
which will soon begin, then it is herculean and killing,’’ he
said.
NAN reports that the 2017/2018 NPFL season had began
on Jan. 13 and was expected to end on Sept. 30.
But the NFF leadership tussle forced the organisers to put
on hold its return from the World Cup break on July 18.
(NAN)

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