Rivers Angels technical adviser, Edwin Okon wants the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to uphold fairness and justice during the 2017 Federation Cup.
The Federation on Wednesday announced a multi-million naira partnership with the Aiteo group for its Federation Cup for the next five years. The partnership will see the tournament renamed AITEO Cup with N35 million ($112,000) up for grabs for winners in the two categories.
The winners of the men’s tournament is expected to take home 25 million ($80,000) while the winners of the women’s tournament will be rewarded with 10 million naira ($32,000).
Rivers Angels of Port Harcourt won the competition last year in Lagos and Okon, head of their technical crew, fears that the huge prize money will cause other teams to utilize dubious means in wanting to eliminate his team from the competition and as such the Federation Cup, now AITEO Cup, deserves proper monitoring.
“We just have to watch the gang up against Rivers Angels. If the organizers want to see the best of the tournament they should follow it up,” Okon told Ladiesmarch after his team’s NWFL Match Day 8 fixture against Heartland Queens in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
“I will suggest that assessors should be sent to each of the match venues. The organizers have a say on the matches and have the power to decide on a game to be replayed if it doesn’t go the right way. If they don’t follow it up, then we are in for drama.”
Okon, five-time Federation Cup winner with the Jewel of Rivers says he has experienced some of the challenges that affects the annual competition in the past and therefore wants the organizers to adhere to his advice which he believes would go a long way in providing a level playing field for all the teams.
“I was privileged to give the board an advice and I told them they should follow up the matches because some people will be determined to stop Rivers Angels from retaining the title,” alleged the former Super Falcons coach.
In a related development, Okon also reflected on how match officials have been drafted for his team’s league games, stressing that the continuous use of the same referee for his team’s games is ridiculous.
“Same referee that officiates your game in Delta is the same referee that will officiate your game in Lagos, who is responsible for that?”
“I have reported to the league body to check their list for the referees attached to the teams. Like a particular referee I know, she has officiated five of our eight games played this season, I don’t know the rationale behind it and I wonder if she is the only referee in the league or some people just want to bring the league down,” bemoaned Okon.
Rivers Angels, winners of 1 million naira ($3,2000) for their victory against Bayelsa Queens in the 2016 Federation Cup Final in Lagos, will go into the 2017 draws as defending Champions.
The draw which is slated in a fortnight at the NFF Glass House will see 64 teams in with a chance to be the inaugural winners of the AITEO Cup.