Monday, 15 March 2021

Rovers FC decry Vandrezzer's game-killing antics

By Kelvin Obambon

Rovers Football Club, Calabar have decried what they described as psychological and game-killing antics of Vandrezzer Football Club.

The Lagos based team was due to play their week 6 away match against Rovers in Calabar today Saturday 13th, but the game was postponed until Sunday 14th March, 2021. Reason for the postponement is at the time of this report enshrouded in mystery.

Reacting to the development, Chairman of Rovers FC, Mr Ejen Ebam, said Cross River State was very disappointed with the way and manner the organizers of the Nigeria National League (NNL) was handling the issue between Rovers and Vandrezzer FC.

Ebam recalled that "Last season Vandrezzer came up with an excuse that they were attending a burial and because of that they could not honour their match against Rovers. Then the league body wrote a letter to us notifying us that the match was shifted and COVID-19 took the day, and we didn't play that match until date.

"And here we are in Calabar today, they are telling us that the game between Rovers and Vandrezzer cannot hold again. On the league fixture every team has a day that has been communicated to the league body earlier before the commencement of the league, and Rovers Football Club play their matches on Saturdays. And if there's any reason for the shift of match, I think the team and the entire state is supposed to be communicated first and to know why their match is shifted to any other day."

He lamented that the league body arbitrarily postponed the match without duly notifying the club and that no reason whatsoever was given for the shift, as Vandrezzer FC were already in Calabar as at Saturday 6am, preparatory to the clash scheduled for 4pm.

"It was only yesterday (Friday) evening that we knew that we are playing a match on Sunday. But our greatest surprise is that Vandrezzer are already in Calabar. So what is the reason for shifting the match to Sunday? This is the question we are asking and the management of NNL is yet to give us an answer to that. There is this rumour that Vandrezzer FC is having an edge over other teams and is supported by the league body. This is the impression everyone is having and going by what played out today one could not but believe the rumour. The league body really have to tell us why our match was shifted because Vandrezzer officials and players are all here in Calabar.", he said.

The Chairman threatened that Rovers Football Club would pull out of the NNL if nothing is done to address the anomaly, which according to him, is antithetical to the development of football in the country.

"If we are not satisfied with the excuse for postponing our match, we will rather pull out of the league and let the world know that we have been treated unfairly.

"All the logistics for the match today have been paid for. Now that they have shifted it who is going to cater for the expenses of playing the same game on a later date?", he lamented.

Commenting on the development, Rovers Technical Adviser, Samson Unuanel, expressed sadness over the postponement of the match, while hinting that there could be a possible gang up somewhere against Rovers FC, which is why Cross Riverians should stand up and act before things get out of hand.

He explained that according to NNL rules, only the home team can shift the date of a match and that notice to that effect must be issued 48 or 72 hours ahead.

"The organizers don't have any right to postpone match. If there's a force majore, in cases of accident or any other thing, the home FA should be carried along. We were told under 12 hours that our match has been shifted to Sunday. Being that as it may, we are going to play the match in the spirit of sportsmanship. But if this thing happens again, we are going to withdraw from the league.", he said.

Coach Unuanel stated that since the commencement of the 2021 season, Rovers have been at the receiving end of poor officiating, with a dubious penalty awarded against them in their last encounter with Nnewi United, being one in series of such biases.

"I think there's a gang up somewhere against Calabar Rovers. All our games have not been fairly officiated, both home and away. The last one was a glaring instance of bias officiating where a penalty was awarded against our team in the dying minute of the game to give Nnewi United an edge over us."

He said it was quite demoralizing after putting so much effort in preparing a team for a match only to realize lately that the game had been postponed without any reason.

However, the match is now scheduled for 2:30pm on Sunday 14th March, 2021 at the U.J Esuene Stadium, Calabar.