Who collected the 100 match balls given to Rivers United for their participation in this year’s Confederation Cup by Africa’s football governing body, CAF? That is the question officials of the club have not been able to answer nearly two months after the continental body dispatched the balls to the federations of the 16 teams that made it to the group phase of the Confederation Cup.
The Guardian learnt that the Rivers United’s consignment, comprising 100 match balls, was dispatched in the name of a Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) top official just a day after the group draws were held in Cairo, Egypt, on April 26.
However, a Rivers United official, who pleaded anonymity said, “surprisingly, the Pride of Rivers are yet to take delivery of their own consignment, forcing the team to honour their three first round matches without having to train with the official CAF match balls once.
“Every competition has its officially approved match balls. It applies to FIFA, UEFA, CAF and even domestic league organisers. “During the South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup, the official match ball was named Jabulani. Our domestic NPFL league has its own approved match ball but unfortunately, while our group opponents have taken delivery of their CAF approved match balls and have been training with them, we are yet to receive our own consignment not to talk of training with them. We don’t know what is happening that NFF are yet to deliver the balls to us so that we can train and play with them.”
Rivers United’s Technical Manager, Stanley Eguma said it was very unfortunate that two months after CAF gave out the balls and other items to all the 16 participating clubs, his team were yet to receive theirs through the national association.
“It is sad that we find ourselves in this situation,” Eguma lamented. “Could this be sabotage, I don’t know but it is affecting us. “The players have not had the opportunity of training with the ball to know how it is and all that,” he said.
– Culled from Guardian Newspapers