SWAN Condemns Gateway’s Refusal To Play Against ABS

SWAN, Gateway, ABSThe Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) has condemned Gateway United FC’s refusal to play against the Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) FC, citing the inadequacy of security personnel.

SWAN President, Honour Sirawoo, who made the censure, stated that whatever grievances they had could have been settled after the match.

He also criticised the interference of the Ogun State Commissioner for Sports whom he said directed the players against playing.

Gateway Refuse To Play

Spectators had arrived at the Ilorin Stadium as early as 3:00pm on Sunday to watch the all-important match where Gateway and ABS sought outright win to gain promotion to the Nigerian Professional Football League.

When the match officials and referee called out the two teams, it was only the ABS that came out to the pitch.

Despite several blowing of whistles by the referee, the Gateway players refused to come on the pitch as the officials waited till 4:30pm before awarding three goals and three points to the hosts.

The officials, led by the match commissioner, Ezra Zuma, took the decision after 30 minutes when ABS players and referees were already on the pitch.

With the resolution, the Ilorin side have 24 points and 21 goals to lead Group B2 of the lower league.

The General Manager of Gateway United FC, Tunji Onatolu, alleged that the ABS did not provide enough security, contrary to article Three-Four of the NNL and NFF which stated that a minimum of 50 security officials must be provided by the home club.

He also claimed that all the antics played by their host were pre-staged and pre-determined and vowed to challenge the decision of the match commissioner.

Rejecting the claims, ABS Director of Sports, Aloy Chukwuemeka, stated that the rule indicated that 50 security personnel should be provided for any match and that they provided about 70 security officials.

He purported that Gateway United had come to Ilorin with antics but were beaten ahead by the ABS FC.

Chukwuemeka, however, dedicated the victory to the proprietor of the club and the Nigerian Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

Sports Key To Economic Development – Gbenga Daniel

Gbenga-Daniel, SWAN, SportsFormer Governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, has described sports as a veritable tool for economic development, just as he called on financially-muscled Nigerians to invest in sports.

Mr Daniel made the remarks in Sagamu while playing host to members of the National Executive Committee of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) who were at his residence to pay him a courtesy visit.

He noted that sports can create employment, empowerment and above all, develop the society economically.

“I want to use this opportunity to call on well-meaning Nigerians who have the financial muscle, people like Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Dr. Mike Adenuga and host of others to try as much as possible to invest in sports.

“I heard in the news some time ago that Alhaji Aliko Dangote wants to buy Arsenal Football Club. Well, he is a businessman, he must have seen the potential of making profit by acquiring the club but I want him to look inwards and consider having a Dangote Football Club in Nigeria.

“By doing this, there will be employment for some set of people and those depending on them for their daily needs will also benefit indirectly.

Profitable Ventures

“It is also funny when I hear people say that sports does not bring any kind of profit when invested in. I remember when we hosted the Gateway Games in 2006, I think we recorded about 92 million Naira profit after the competition.

“Therefore, it is important to note here that sports as much as I know is one of the most profitable ventures. Aside the economic value attached to sports, it also reduces social vices in the society because whenever any sporting event is taking place, the environment becomes friendly and devoid of any form of criminality,” he said.

In his address, SWAN President, Honour Sirawoo, stated that the former governor’s tremendous achievements in the sports sector while in office prompted the council to visit him.

“We are here today (Friday) to let you know that all what you did to develop sports in Ogun State and Nigeria at large when you were serving as governor did not go unnoticed. And that is the reason we are here tell you that you are recognised and highly appreciated for your efforts.”

Sirawoo went on to announce Mr Daniel as the association’s national patron.

He, however, hinted that the formal investiture would be held at a later date and at the convenience of the recipient.