President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, during the week, bent backwards when he defended the body’s action to allow Emem Eduok rejoin the Super Eagles team in Abu Dhabi after it initially decamped the Dolphins FC striker.
The NFF boss argued that this was not a case of right or wrong, rather a clear message that the Federation would not tolerate impunity, and that the player is free to join up with the rest of his team mates.
“If we don’t take actions like this, our image will remain tainted that we are supporting impunity. Nobody wants to know whether he is guilty or not guilty; but, the immediate reaction of the federation”.
A former U-17 coach, Fanny Amun, found NFF’s action very funny, saying, “It is wrong for the NFF to decamp Emem Eduok over his contract dispute with two clubs.”
Amun stressed that the decision was totally out of place as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and world football governing body (FIFA) had not sanctioned the player.
“If he has not been sanctioned by CAF or FIFA, why is the NFF in such haste to throw him out of camp? Anybody, who took that decision should have considered that first. I am not saying that the decision they took was wrong, but, for me, they (NFF) were in haste. “That decision was done out of mere over zealousness because many players had the same issue in the past and the issue was later rectified. The NFF should go and rectify that problem,’’ he said.
It was the view of soccer pundits that NFF boss might have reversed itself to now wade into the transfer scandal brewing around Dolphins FC star after his action was nationally described as misdirected gaffe.
Esperance of Tunisia and Norwegian top division side, Sarpsborg 08, are laying claims to the talented attacker, who scored 20 goals in the Nigeria Premier Football League last season.
The NFF boss, who personally supervised sending Eduok out of the Super Eagles camp for the transfer saga, got heavy public condemnation for the act, which forced his hands back.
Now, Pinnick is of the view that it was a big shame to have one of the brightest stars from the country locked in a transfer mess that does not portray Nigeria in good light in the comity of football nations. He assured that the Federation will be paying greater attention to player transfers, especially international transfers.
Stakeholders were of the opinion that rather than throw the player out of the camp, NFF would have sought to protect the player’s interest first and later move for a quick resolution of he matter.
The striker has confirmed his three-and-half year deal with the Tunisian outfit after he rebuffed signing for the Norwegian club due to breakdown in talks.
The player signed a three-and-half-year deal with Tunisian league champions, Esperance, while insisting he has no contract with Norwegian top division side, Sarpsborg 08.
He explained that his botched move to Norway was as a result of failure of Sarpsborg to meet terms with his parent club, Dolphins, which necessitated his move to Esperance.
“I went to Norway, but Dolphins didn’t approve that move because they said the money they offered was too small, as the Norway club offered 150, 000 Euros; but, Dolphins said they cannot accept that,” Eduok told Goal.com
“And Dolphins advised I should move to Tunisia, which I did and they are aware of it. I’ve signed a three and half years deal with (Esperance),” he said after he passed a medical with the club.
“It is for Dolphins to agree their own part before I can complete my move, because I have agreed my own part,” he continued.
“I don’t think it’s a bad move for me.
“I just want to keep doing my best and keep on scoring goals in the Champions League, league and FA Cup. I just want to be myself, do my best and help the team to achieve their goals as the new season is about to start,” he concluded.
“I will always do my best, no matter where I am. I think it’s good for me.”
On Dolphin’s involvement in the transfer saga, the club’s manager, Stanley Eguma, noted that Sarpsborg never reached out to Dolphins at all and that they only alerted them after they got stuck, but, that they were only aware of Eduok’s trip to Esperance of Tunisia and that the club promptly got in touch with them before they agreed to his switch to the North African club.
It was so unfortunate that the player had to be thrown out of the Eagles’ camp because this is just a simple case of a club that ought to have found out about the player they wanted to sign so as not fall for some of these desperate agents. Sarpsborg, by their status, should have known that Eduok made his name with Dolphins. He scored 24 goals last season while playing for Dolphins and all his achievements can only be traced to Dolphins and not any club.
“It was wrong for Sarpsborg to have gone to A&B Academy, a club that does not have anything to do with Emem. Emem never told us he contacted them and Sarpsborg only told us about it when the issue had gone out of hand. It was only Esperance that reached us and we have agreed terms with them not with any other club.”
Eguma went further to state that Dolphins would fully cooperate with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in order to unearth those behind the shoddy act, adding that it was right for the Football House to adjudicate in the matter so that it doesn’t smear the name and the image of the country.