By Patrick Omorodion
*Says Sharks have been cheated
*As Ojo-Oba insist on Warri Wolves
THE decision of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to give the second Confederation Cup slot to Warri Wolves Football Club ahead of Sharks who finished second in the 2009 Federation Cup is still generating a lot of furore with Barister Nwabufo Obienu alleging undercurrent deals between the football officials and the Warri team.
Barrister, a one time vice chairman of the Nigeria Football Association who called Sunday Vanguard sports from Abuja said that the NFF decision was totally unfair to Sharks because by right the Port Harcourt side deserves the ticket.
â€œYou see when I said that those people in the NFF will run football aground people thought I was just talking. They donâ€™t know what they are doing. Why would Ojo-Oba quote only the portion of the CAF Statutes that favours them,â€he queried.
According to the Engu-based legal practitioner, â€œthe CAF Statutes does not give room to the fourth placed team in the league so how can they give the slot to Warri Wolves. I believe money has changed hands and we know those behind this wicked act.â€
Barister Obienu known for voicing out his opinion whenever football rules are stood on the head said that he believes that CAF will reverse this decision because it makes mockery of football administration but on a second thought said â€œwe know that CAF has been pocketed by a strong cabal in Nigerian football who are the same people responsible for this mess.â€
He said that by giving Warri Wolves the Confederations Cup ticket, the NFF has made the Federation Cup unnecessary because â€œall the representatives are from the league,â€ as he added that Enyimba has no decision as far as this matter is concerned.
â€œWhat if Enyimba had emerged double champions, would the NFF say no team from the Federation would play the Confederations Cup. The proper thing to do is to restore the ticket to Sharks,â€ he said.
He argued that for all the Rivers State government has done for football especially during the 2002 World Cup qualifiers and even with the state governor, Rotimi Amaechi as head of the presidential Task Force for the 2010 World Cup qualification, the NFF should treat them with some respect.
Meanwhile Editor of Soccer Star newspaper Kunle Solaja writing on the same issue in his column â€˜Extra Timeâ€™ on Thursday said â€œThe CAF rules have no provision for fourth-placed clubs. So, even if Sharks declined to take the ticket, the offer goes to Lobi who placed third in the Federation Cup. Warri Wolves are not in contention for the ticket,â€ to corroborate Barrister Obienuâ€™s position.
However the man at the centre of the mess, Bolaji Ojo-Oba was quoted by the NFF Media Officer, Ademola Olajire as insisting that the NFF would not go back on the decision to pick Warri Wolves irrespective of the criticisms from the â€œRivers State Football Association and their agentsâ€, warning that â€œWe will not exchange gutter language with them, but they should be very careful at this stage.â€