• Players, Officials Sleep At Airport
Unless a miracle happens, Nigeria’s representative in the CAF Confederation Cup, Enyimba FC of Aba, might forfeit all three points to Libya’s Al Ittihad, after the ran into a major hitch in Casablanca, Morocco.
The Peoples Elephants had left Nigeria in the early hours of Thursday, and were expected to transit in Casablanca before connecting Tunis (adopted home ground of Al Ittihad of Libya). They were denied entry into Tunis.
A letter by the Chairman of Enyimba, Felix Anyansi Agwu, to the Confederation of African Football (CAF), made available to The Guardian yesterday, said: “We write to officially notify you of the extremely difficult situations currently encountered by Enyimba FC for the CAF Confederation Cup play off fixture against AlIttihad. The club’s contingent has been left completely stranded for over twenty-four hours at the Muhammed V International Airport in Casablanca, Morocco, after the team was denied access to Tunisia by immigration authorities. The delegation departed Lagos on Thursday, and were expected to transit in Casablanca before connecting Tunis.
“The journey, however, was awry as the team, upon arrival in Casablanca, were told that they would not be allowed into Tunisia except every member of the contingent provided certificate of full COVID vaccination.
Anyansi further said: “Efforts by the club’s management and the Nigerian Embassy in Tunisia to get a special waiver for the team has not yielded results, even inspite of the team provided proofs of negative COVID-19 test results. The only other alternative given was to observe a 7-day quarantine upon arrival in Tunisia but with the game just two days away, that option becomes completely unrealistic.
“As a result, the team, which arrived Casablanca at 9:30 am on Thursday, was forced to remain at the Muhammed V International Airport in Casablanca all through the day, without food and in the cold, as their Moroccan transit visa would not allow access to the city.
“It is worthy to note that after Enyimba were drawn against AlIttihad on October 26, the club swung into action immediately, and wrote series of letters to both CAF and AlIttihad requesting the venue of the match. Unfortunately, none of the letters were responded to.
The club proceeded to secure Libyan visas, only to be notified few days ago that the game would be played in Tunisia. The club had to race against time to obtain Tunisian visas, only to be faced by this ugly situation.
He continued: “This unfortunate turn of events has left the team in a severely disadvantage deposition heading into the fixture, and failure to get it resolved as the soonest possible time would only create an uneven playing field for a game of this magnitude.
“We therefore wish to request, sir, that the CAF acts quickly on the situation to ensure that Enyimba is granted immediate access to Tunisia to ensure that the integrity of this competition is protected.”
Meanwhile, Mohamed Ali Moussa from Niger Republic has been appointed as the centre referee for the CAF Confederation Cup playoff between Rivers United and Egyptian Club, Al Masry FC. It will hold tomorrow at the Enyimba International Stadium, Aba.
The Niger Republic FIFA badge referee, according to CAF, will be assisted by compatriots, Abdoul Aziz Yacouba and Mahamadou Yahaya Gado as Assistant Referees one and two, while Moussa Ahmadou Alou also from Niger Republic will serve as the fourth official.
CAF also confirmed that Sekou Wieh Konneh from Liberia as the Match Commissioner, while Pare Lossene from Burkina Faso is the Referee Assessor. Fans are expected to pay N1,000 for VIP seats and N500 for the all covered seats.