By John Egbokhan, Abuja
The Enugu and Calabar sub-seats of the Local Organising Committees of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup have received commendations from the Federation of International Football Associations for being able to deal with the challenge of the heady downpour during the group stage of the on-going competition.
Both centres, it was noticed last week, were visited with heavy rains that halted some matches and even exposed the state of the artificial turf. The rains forced one of the matches to be played on another day and much criticisms were rained on the LOC for this show, which some observers, viewed as shameful for the Nigerian nation.
But offering a different view yesterday, the Vice-President of FIFA, said that he was surprised that the Enugu sub-seat personnel were able to deal with the situation, which he stressed happen in other countries of the world.
â€œRain is an act of God. It is nature at work and the kind of rains that fell in Enugu, Calabar and Abuja, could have disrupted any match, in any country, since it is an act of nature.
â€œWhen I noticed what was going on in these centres, I had to call the organisers there to advise them to suspend the match till the next day but they told me that they could deal with it.
â€œInstead of condemning these people, we should commend them because rain falls in my country and matches are stopped, even in England, it also falls and matches are cancelled. So why should we make such a big issue out of this act of nature?
A top FIFA official is, however, said to have strong links to a company that laid the Enugu turf. The poor drainage system caused the problem in Enugu and not the heavy rain.