Clubs can't recall national team players for Federation Cup


Clubs playing the Nigeria Federation Cup Round of 16 stages from Thursday will have to do so without their players in the national teams.

Already Nigeria’s U20 team, the Flying Eagles are at the World Youth Championships and nothing can be done about that but with the Beach Soccer team still in the country, clubs thought they could have had their players released to them for the one week Cup games.

However, the Nigeria Football Federation insists that clubs must do without their players at the National Beach Soccer camp.

Deputy General Secretary (Technical), Emmanuel Ikpeme said on Tuesday that it had come to the notice of the NFF that some clubs are determined to recall their players from the camp ostensibly for these players to shore up the teams’ strength in the group stage of the Federation Cup, billed for four centres across the country from 4th – 9th August.

“The Nigeria Football Federation does not take kindly to this move by the clubs. We usually take to heart the interests of the clubs, which is why we always prevail on our coaches not to invite more than three players from any one club at any particular time.

“For the present situation, no club can complain. Enugu Rangers (with James Okwuosa and Musa Najere) and Kwara United (with Ogbonnaya Okemmiri and Isiaka Olawale), are the only clubs that are still active in the Federation Cup and also have up to two players in the National Beach Soccer camp. We don’t think that is an over-kill.

“This is a stern warning to all clubs to desist from threatening their players in the National Beach Soccer camp to return to base or face sanctions. This is not acceptable. At all times, national assignments take precedence over club assignments. Yet, we still do everything in a conscious manner to protect the interests of our clubs.

“It is important to state here that should any player in the present National Beach Soccer camp leave the camp to feature in the Federation Cup, such club would be deemed to have lost the particular match and forfeit three points as well”, said Ikpeme.

The National Beach Soccer team is presently camping in Badagry ahead of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup billed for September 1-11 in Ravenna, Italy.

From Badagry, the team will move to Faro, Portugal on August 15 for a two-week, final residential camping programme before flying to Italy.
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