Thursday, 13 June 2019

Ben Ayade FC narrowly escapes Walk over at U. J. Esuene stadium...Read details here

Ukorebi Esien

The Cross River State second male football team, Ben Ayade United FC, this evening narrowly escaped being walked over by visiting Cofine FC of Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom state.

The match which was slated for 4pm at the U. J. Esuene Stadium Calabar couldn't kick off because the referee refused to officiate the match stating that the pitch was not in order and as such against the rules governing the game. The center referee observed that the grasses on the playing pitch were overgrown and the pitch wasn't marked. 

It took the intervention of Chief Orok Duke, Chairman of the Cross River State Sports Commission to avert a work over against the home team who are just on 3 points from two league matches played so far against the visiting Cofine FC who had already secured 9 points from 3 league matches played. 

Discouraged players, walking out of the pitch

After over one hour thirty minutes 30 of pleading and persuasion, a call was put through to the NFF headquarters in Abuja and directives were given for the home team to be given 24 hours to put their pitch in order. This off course wasn't possible without some financial benefits to the visiting team to assist them in the unforeseen expenditure of extra day accommodation and other logistics due to the postponement of the match. 

Speaking with with this reporter, Chief Duke lamented the entire situation stating that it was indeed a sorry situation and pathetic that it had to happen this way. 

Chief Duke explained that the refusal of the Inauguration organising committee to remove the stage used for the Inauguration ceremony of his excellency, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade was a major contributor to the ugly scene. 

"Imagine that about two weeks after His Excellency's second term swearing in ceremony, the stage used for that event was still on the pitch, it wasn't until the press carried the story and the governor ordered for its removal, before it was dismantled last night at about 5pm.
This didn't give us ample time to work on the pitch. In terms of cutting the little sides that have overgrown and also mark the pitch. And that singular act has almost cost us 3 points, but not for my timely intervention. ". Chief Orok Duke explained. 
The dismantled stage, still left at
a corner of the stadium

The dismantled stage, still left at
a corner of the stadium

Duke said he had to step into the matter to appeal on the behalf of the team because he really wants them to qualify for pro league which he believes the boys will certainly do so, as long as they don't lose any home game. 

Speaking with the head coach of the team, he told TDN that one of the things affecting the team is poor funding even as he appealed to the government to look into their plight as players are been owed salaries for months. 

Orok Duke motivating the team 

After all said and done, the match was finally rescheduled for 9:00 am, tomorrow, Friday 14th June.

It should be recalled that TDN had over the week reported that Ben Ayade United FC may lose their three points in today's match due to lack of venue to host the visiting team. Our reporter observed that the stage used for Ayade's second term inauguration was still at the center of the pitch.

Read the story here: Ayade Inauguration stage poises threat to Ayade FC

In a related development, the second female team of the state, Linda Ayade FC, was also worked over two days ago over the team's inability to travel for their match against Osun babes schedule to hold at Warri, Delta state.

According to a director in the Sports Commission, Mr. Oswald Atuake, the team lacks funding as Ut has never been funding for the past three years since it came on board. Players are being owed salaries and most times they lack funds honor away matches.

Orok Duke, however, informed that the Governor's wife has promised to look into the matter, ensuring that their arrears are cleared, at least from January this year.

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