Nigeria’s sole representative in the CAF continental football championship, Enyimba football club of Aba has filed a protest to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) over the unwholesome attitude of its opponent in this week’s semi final clash, Raja Club Athletico of Morocco who sneaked into Aba today.
Enyimba’s protest written by club chairman, Felix Anyansi Agwu stated:
“We write in response to the complaints of Raja Club Athletic that they were delayed at the Port Harcourt Airport upon arrival.
“This complaint of Raja is an attempt to embarrass our club because Raja themselves are in violation of the rules of the competition after failing to provide us with details of their arrival. We had reached out to them requesting their travel itinerary but we were not offered this information. Instead, we received a call on Sunday from Morocco stating that the team was landing in Port Harcourt at 2:45pm on Monday.
We swung into action immediately and informed our protocol officers to be on standby. However at 5 am this morning, we got notice of their presence in Port Harcourt already. This came as a shock to us because arrangements had been made to receive the team at 2:45 pm, not 5: am, based on the call received. An official of our club was dispatched to the airport immediately and on getting there, he learnt of the team’s arrival by Air Maroc to Port Harcourt, which was by itself a strange landing. Air Maroc had no prior scheduled landing in Port Harcourt but being the official Moroccan airline, they must have been influenced to land in Port Harcourt by Raja officials and authorities.” The statement read.
“At no time did Raja officials notify us they were coming in via Air Maroc. Had they done so, they would have revealed the very disturbing and suspicious fact that it was the same flight used by the match officials from Tunisia. So strange was the landing of Air Maroc in Port Harcourt that it had to fly back to Lagos for its scheduled landing.
We already had tickets booked for Lagos to Port Harcourt and our protocol officer in Lagos was at the airport waiting for their arrival. According to Chief Anyansi Agwu, Lagos was the scheduled arrival based on the booking by CAF, so why the change of destination to Port Harcourt?” He queried.
Back at the Port Harcourt airport, Enyimba’s protocol officer was told that some officials had already checked in at Novotel Hotel while the ones at the airport were trying to get their luggage. Ironically, Raja officials led the protocol officer to the match officials and introduced him to them.
“The fact that the match officials traveled in the same flight with our opponents, Raja Club Athletic all the way to Port Harcourt, aborting the original Lagos route is deeply worrisome.” Agwu stated.
“Secretary General Sir, much as the referees may have a logical explanation as to their change of travel plans, we are gravely concerned. We have faith in the integrity of officials designated for this semi final game but we all know that affinity breeds complicity.
In conclusion, the actions of Raja are deliberate and designed to not only cast our team in bad light, but gain an unfair advantage on Match-day. These actions are against the rule of the sport and against fairplay and we request that CAF takes a hard stance against this by carrying out all necessary actions that would uphold the objectiveness and impartiality of the game.” He concluded.