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‘Corruption, poor funding responsible for NPFL teams’ shabby travel arrangement’

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Omokaro tasks clubs to retrain vehicle drivers
Former Nigeria international, Bright Omokaro, has blamed corruption and paucity of funds for clubs inability to plan properly for their teams’ movement to and from match venues across the country.

Speaking in the wake of the recent road mishaps and kidnappings involving Akwa United, Adamawa United and Ekiti United, among other teams, Omokaro said clubs inability to ferry their teams safely to match venues must be urgently addressed by the League Management Company (LMC) to curtail the rate of accidents involving league clubs.

He also advised the NPFL to ensure that clubs’ drivers are given proper orientation, adding that most of the drivers still behave as if they are beyond accidents.

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He argued against the call for the league body to halt the competition because of the spate of accidents, saying, “I don’t think it would be right for the LMC to stop the league due to accidents and armed robbery attacks on buses conveying NPFL players to league venues.

“The problem will still remain if there is no money or urgent measures to give the players safe means of traveling, which is by air. The issue is that most of the clubs in the NPFL are owned by state governments, which do not fund them adequately.

“The LMC should stop teams from traveling for a game anything later three days to a match. They should give the teams three to four days mandate to travel for games so the driver will have enough time to  drive safely. They should also ensure all NPFL teams have two drivers when on a long journey to ensure they have alert drivers at all times.”

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Omokaro also advised clubs to conduct comprehensive checks on their vehicles before putting them on the road.

“In my days, most clubs in Nigeria were owned by private individuals, who spent money on players’ welfare. It is not like that now where states’ owned clubs struggle to get money from the government. In some cases, such monies when it comes, are frittered away by officials with little allocated to players’ welfare,” he said.

The Guardian recalls that apart from Akwa United and Ekiti United’s vehicle accidents, many Nigerian league clubs have been in the news for wrong reasons recently. Adamawa United were recently attacked by kidnappers, who abducted their driver on their way to Lagos for a match.

Vehicles belonging to Wikki Tourists and Kwara United were also engulfed in flames on their way to match venues.

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