21st March, 2013
The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, yesterday abandoned the visiting Kenyan national team to their fate.
The East Africans are scheduled to play against the Super Eagles in Saturday’s 2014 World Cup qualifier in Calabar, Cross River State.
The Harambee Stars arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos via a Kenya Airways flight on Wednesday afternoon.
On arrival at the airport, there was not one high ranking member of the NFF to receive the team for a game of such international magnitude.
Expecting to be ferried to Calabar straight away in order to begin preparations for the crucial game, the visitors were told that the only flight that goes to the city had departed and that they would need to wait till today.
They then requested that a plane be chartered for them but did not get any response from an NFF official named Alataka who was communicating with them via telephone. They said that his mobile was unreachable for prolonged periods.
The team were later taken to the Silver Grandeur Hotel, around Isolo, to lodge for the night. According to the Kenyan head of delegation Hussein Terry, the hotel owned by NFF vice president Chief Mike Umeh is “a two star hotel” and it contravened the CAF/FIFA statutes that say any visiting international team must be accommodated in at least a four-star hotel.
Terry also stated that as head of delegation, a separate saloon car should have been provided for him. However, the NFF did not do such and he had to share the team’s Toyota Coaster bus.
The Kenyans also complained of being left without a security official accompanying them.
The Football Kenya Federation sent a letter of protest to the NFF. In the letter made available to Goal.com, the federation’s secretary general Michael Esokwa asked the NFF to urgently address the needs of the visiting team according to agreed terms.
While not wanting to waste the opportunity of acclimatising in the humid weather, they decided to find a football field to work out. They were taken to the Ajao Estate Primary School in Isolo.
There the team, under the watchful eyes of coach Adel Amrouche, did light jogging and stretching exercises on the dusty grounds of the primary school.
Amrouche later told Goal.com that he wasn’t fazed by the poor reception that his team had been given. “T.I.A,” he said.
“This is Africa,” he explained before walking into the team bus.
An accompanying journalist told Goal.com: “I love your country if this is how they treat visitors,” he said with sarcasm.”We will spoil your party,” one official said. “That you’re the African champions makes us more motivated to defeat you.”