Felix Anyansi-Agwu, the Chairman of Enyimba International Football Club of Aba, says the club will consider all options available to them regarding team captain Austine Oladapo’s ban.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Oladapo, a midfielder at the club, was handed a one-year ban by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Monday.
This was after he tested positive for a prohibited steroid, known as Prednisolone or Prednisolone.
The ban became necessary after Oladapo’s urine sample, taken after the club’s CAF Confederation Cup quarter-final first leg against Pyramids FC on May 16, tested positive for the banned substance.
But the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) club side had stood behind their captain, saying Oladapo remained a disciplined athlete.
The club said Oladapo became worthy of the team’s captain band due to his professionalism and could not have intentionally taken the said drug.
A statement by the club chairman, posted on the club’s official website on Friday, said Enyimba FC would consider all available options.
But, Anyansi-Agwu said the club would in the meantime continue to stand with and defend their star midfielder and captain.
He also revealed that they had given CAF a heads-up before the said test that the player had been on preventive COVID-19 specific treatment.
“We received a letter from CAF informing us that Oladapo has been suspended for 12 months for failing a doping test.
“While we have been given the option to appeal the decision, it is pertinent to first clarify that as a club, we have a strict code of conduct that shows zero tolerance to hard drugs or any banned substance.
“That is why there had never been any record of a positive doping test on any of our players, either in domestic or international competitions.
“It is also important to state that the player in question is a true professional who strongly upholds and has always been abiding by the high standards of our club.
“It was for this reason, alongside his exceptional leadership abilities on and off the pitch, that he was chosen as captain of our team.”
The chairman insisted that he was convinced that “a player who over his four years with the club had shown such an exemplary level of moral and professional discipline could not have knowingly taken the said substance”.
He noted that the player has had a clean doping record, having been subjected to tests on previous occasions in CAF Competitions.
These were during their match against CARA Brazzaville in 2018 and at the 2018 Championship of African Nations (CHAN) in Morocco.
“On both occasions, the tests returned negative.
“As we already pointed out in our communication to CAF, Oladapo before the game against Pyramids had been on preventive COVID-19-specific treatment after being diagnosed with malaria with bronchitis.
“It was indicated in his medical report, which was also attached to our letter to CAF, that some of the treatments given in this regard are steroidal and can reveal prednisolone in his tribe sample test.
“Although we have not been made aware of the percentage of the substance concentration in his urine, we believe that any trace of it would have resulted from the prescribed medication.
“In following this matter, Enyimba FC will consider all available options, but will in the meantime continue to stand with and defend our star midfielder, who over the years has shown exceptional discipline and character worthy of our revered captain’s armband,” Anyansi-Agwu said.