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U-17 age controversy: Minister summons Lulu

By Fidelis Ebu
ABUJA – Reports from the magnetic resonance imaging scan that ruled out 22 players from the Golden Eaglets’ camp is causing a stir at the Nigeria Football Federation as it has forced the federation to withdraw from the Council of East and Central Africa Football Association.

Sports Minister
Sports Minister

Sani Ndanusa, the minister and Chairman National Sports Commission, has however summoned the NFF president, Sani Lulu Abdullahi, and other big wigs of the federation for explanation over the MRI result, which has led the football house to tactically withdraw from the CECAFA tournament to avoid being disgraced.

Lulu and the NFF general secretary, Bolaji Ojo Oba, that returned from Germany Monday morning where they went to negotiate with Adidas over contract for the national teams sneaked to the NSC yesterday where they had closed door meeting with an angry Ndanusa and other top shots of the Commission.

John Obuh, the newly appointed coach of the Golden Eaglets, the third to handle the team since it was assembled, is however confused over the MRI result that has thrown spanner into his works even though he inherited the alleged over-aged players from his predecessor – Henry Nwosu.

The CECAFA tournament which was billed to kick off from August 19 in three cities of Khartoum, Juba and Medani was supposed to have the Golden Eaglets and the Egyptian team as the guest teams.

It was earlier speculated that 16 of the 35 players in the Eaglets team failed the MRI scan test, but a dependable source hinted yesterday that the number has increased to 22; a development that forced the Sani Lulu Abdullahi-led NFF to cancel the team’s participation in the tournament.

Doubting the number of players that failed the MRI scan, the NFF Chief Media Officer, Ademola Olajire, said the federation that paid for the test to be carried out on the players was yet to receive the official medical report of what it has paid for and would not believe the report.

But Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme though holding the exact number of players that did not scale through in the MRI scan at the National Hospital, Abuja, has however revealed in a chat afterwards that some players were not successful in the test.

Dr. Ikpeme, who is the NFF deputy general secretary (Technical), stated that it was a good development that the result of the test was received before the team was sent to participate in the CECAFA holding in three cities of Sudan — Khartoum, Juba and Medani.


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