(Original story written by CHIDO OKAFOR …..Published in the Nigerian Guardian Feb 18 2008)
A TEAM of FIFA officials led by the body’s Vice President, Jack Warner, has expressed dissatisfaction with the present state of the Warri Stadium, which the Delta State Government is presenting as one of the venues for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2009.
The team toured the Warri City Stadium complex yesterday but was not happy with a lot of things at the stadium. The FIFA team scored low the Warri Stadium pitch, where the game would be played, noting that the field was poorly grassed, thus exposing the earth when looked at from very close range. This, the officials observed, would be hard on players.
Lack of vegetation in the rain forest.
When a Local Organising Committee (LOC) member told Warner that the stadium would be re-grassed before the next FIFA team visit, Warner disagreed, saying that FIFA would prefer synthetic pitch to a re-grassed one.
The first evidence of NEPA
A drama took place as the team toured the Warri Stadium: a quick-fix 30 KVA power generating set hired to light up the stadium while the officials were around broke down and threw the whole inner chambers of the stadium being inspected at the moment into darkness. The delegates waited but power was not restored until they left.
Amos Adamu’s shame !
Even the Director General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Amos Adamu, could not hide his disgust at the level of unpreparedness at the Warri Stadium. However, Amaju Pinnick, the Warri sub-seat chairman for the 2009 FIFA Cadet World Cup, fought hard to convince the team that the stadium would wear a new look when next it visited.
No light, the 2nd evidence of NEPA.
The FIFA officials were also not impressed with the fact that there was no single flood light at the stadium, and that the stadium environment was too filthy and too indecent to host the world, that purpose-built television stands were lacking, and that the perimeter fence separating the pitch from the spectators looked awkward.
At the dressing room, the FIFA delegation observed that there were not enough facilities for a team of 25 players to use at a time, saying it was below the standard requirement needed for such a tournament. The team also highlighted some architectural errors in the stadium, especially in the area of space management.
Food is their problem.
Earlier at a luncheon organised in honour of the visiting FIFA officials by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Warner expressed gratitude for the warm reception accorded the delegation, adding that were he alone to decide on venues to be used for Nigeria 2009 World Cup, he would had approved the Warri Stadium in view of Delta State’s impressive sport records, but said the decision would be made by a large body of FIFA officials. Amos Utuama:
The speech of a Liar!
The state governor, who was represented by his deputy, Amos Utuama, said Delta State met all the requirements for the hosting of the championship, adding that the state was committed to the development of soccer. He said the state government wanted to use the tourney to promote development in the state. The FIFA team included the former Director, FIFA Competition Division, Jim Brown, Senior Manager, FIFA Stadia and Security, Adnan El Guindy, Director, FIFA Competition, John Schumacher, Director, FIFA Communications, Emmanuel Maradas, FIFA Accommodations Office, Enrique Byron, Representative of FIFA Marketing, Christopher Axer, and Cheryl Abrahams, InfoTech consultant to Warner.
VERY INCOMPETENT PEOPLE: NFA, No future ambition.
The LOC team included the Nigeria Football Association Chairman, Sani Lulu Abdullahi, andVice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Local Organising Committee, Mainasara Illo.
One good news!
FIFA vice president, Jack Warner, after the FIFA team on inspection of the Abuja National Stadium declared that the stadium is too qualified to host the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.