As dust is yet to settle over the age scandal rocking the Golden Eaglets, the man at the centre of the revelation, Adokiye Amiesimaka says he has his facts intact, insisting that Skipper Fortune Chukwudi is not eligible to play in the U-17 World Cup.
Adokiye, in his response to the widespread criticism that greeted his revelation, said the current article that is generating ripples is only one in a long list he has been writing, calling for sanity in the country’s age-grade competitions.”
I have written over 200 articles and even this one is part of a series that I started a few weeks ago, so how can anyone say I have not been speaking out?
“I recall clearly that during my time in Sharks, we played a friendly match against the Flying Eagles, who were camping in Port Harcourt in preparation for a qualifier, and Fortune Chukwudi was one of my prominent defenders then.
“In fairness to him, he looks as young now as he did then,” Adokiye said.
Adokiye went on to accuse the football leadership of failing in their responsibilities to clean up age cheats from the football system.
“We should actually ask those in the leadership of sports why they have done nothing against this age-cheating thing,” he said in kickoff.com.”
They have consistently failed in their responsibility to ensure that we comply with the eligibility rules. Real U-17s should be in secondary school or just passing out, and not men who have been playing in the League for years.”
Why can’t they organise competitions to get these talented players to represent the country?” the former Green Eagles player queried.
However, in a face saving response to Adokiye’s allegation, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF yesterday expressed utter shock at the comments made by the former player about the Nigeria U-17 team.
The Acting General Secretary of NFF, Barrister Musa Amadu said:
“We are not claiming to be perfect, as that is a virtue that belongs to only the Almighty God. But Nigerians are aware of the efforts we made to ensure that we put forward a genuine team.”The team underwent MRI scans at the National Hospital in Abuja and at the world famous Aspire Academy in Qatar, and is still being subjected to scans at the ongoing competition. But simply because he wants to destroy, Amiesimaka has gone out to ‘invent’.”We are not bothered. It is left for Nigerians to judge the kind of statements coming in the middle of a World Cup. We are only stunned that there are Nigerians who so passionately hate their own country, simply because they are not at the helm,” said Barrister Amadu.
Amadu concluded: “We should learn to celebrate excellence some of the time, not trying to bring down other people all the time. Has Amiesimaka been obsessed with so much hatred for our successful players because he never played in the World Cup? It is possible.”
It is a shame that people can take personal hatred and vendetta to the level that Amiesimaka has taken his own. We are shocked by his statements, particularly coming from a former international player, but we remain resolute and committed to lifting the image of Nigeria through football and refuse to be ruffled by such unpatriotic and silly comments.”
“At a time that all Nigerians are happy with the team that we have put forward despite the odds, and the team’s performance is making many people to talk about the strength and savvy of Nigerian football once again, the ‘destroy-them- by-all-means’ attitude of the likes of Amiesimaka is very strange.”
Also, NFF Executive committee member, Taiwo Ogunjobi accused Adokiye of ‘having an agenda’ after the former Green Eagles winger claimed in his weekly column that Nigeria’s Under-17 captain, Fortune Chukwudi is overage.”
He is just looking for a way to discredit Nigerian football,” Ogunjobi said. People like him, we know their plans. They are not after the interest of the country. They just want to discredit those who are there now so they can come in and take over.”
Addressing the key question of Chukwudi’s age, Ogunjobi reiterated that the player passed the MRI test, and not just once.”
Regarding this set of players, we have the confidence that none of them is over aged,” he said.