It is now clear that Warri, one of the proposed venues for the FIFA Under 17 World Cup may not be among the centres that will host teams when soccer hostilities commence in October.
Jack Warner led FIFA delegation for a final inspection of Warri facilities on Monday. It rained heavily in Warri that day and the FIFA Vice President was not happy about the pitch which he said was not absolutely level. Warri officials including Pinnick Amaju, the head of sports in the state said that the minor defects could be corrected in a matter of days.
We gathered yesterday that apart from Warnerâ€™s observation,Â another hiccup for Warri remained security issues which earlier eliminated the city when FIFA last visited and hostilities were on between Federal Governmentâ€™s group, Joint Task Force and the militants in the creeks. FIFA mistakenly concluded that the war was in the heart of Warri and avoided the place.
â€œThe FIFA men confided in a few friends even before the inspection of Warri. They said that they heard that security was still a problem in the Niger Delta and that FIFA would not want to take risks about lives of players and officials during the competition,â€ a source close to the FIFA delegation said yesterday, adding â€œthe venues will be announced on Friday but I donâ€™t think Warri will make it. There are issues aside the negative observations of Warner,â€ the source said.
To back his facts he said â€œKano had not installed the scoreboard and there were a few other things but Warner gave them two weeks to fix things while he outrightly wrote off Warri, giving them no chance to fix the faults he observed. But one cannot stick his neck out to condemn or defend them in these matters because our people had enough time to fix things but still delayed action in few places.â€