Officials of Edo State contingent to the ongoing National Sports Festival holding in the Garden City of Port Harcourt have accused Ebonyi and Rivers states of using professional players to prosecute the female football event of the games.
The development which is against the rules of the biennial games was revealed to NEXT in a telephone interview with Precious Igbonwelundu, the public relations officer to the Edo State Sports ministry.
Igbonwelundu accused Ebonyi and Rivers states of featuring former players of Benin-based professional club side, Inneh Queens in the matches they played against Edo State contingent.
She also accused the football federation of tacitly approving the use of the professional players instead of armature by demanding for the sum of N50,000 to hear each of their protest.
“Ebonyi and Rivers played against Edo with former Inneh Queens players and the football federation has insisted that the issue can only be attended to if Edo state pays N50,000 for each protest,” she said.
“It is so shameful that Rivers State is using professionals to compete. As I speak to you, it appears it’s only Edo State that brought amateur players in football.” Apparently angry and frustrated, Miss Igbonwelundu said:
“How can we develop sports in Nigeria when States have refused to abide by the rules guiding the National Sports Festival? The aim of the National Sports Festival is to develop new talents that can be groomed to professional level, but with the use of professionals in the games, I think one will not be wrong to say that the aim is defeated,” she concluded.
The result table released by 12pm yesterday shows that Edo State is placed third with 12 gold, 7 silver and 13 bronze medals behind Rivers and Delta states who are 1st and 2nd respectively on the medal table.