ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development Daniel Igali has denied the reported ban of the football pitch of the Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa, by Confederation of African Football (CAF) ahead of the next home game of Bayelsa United against CS Sfaxien of Tunisia.
Igali said the report was false, misleading and an attempt to allegedly blackmail the Bayelsa State Government into awarding maintenance contracts of the pitch to a certain contractor.
In a statement on Friday, the sports commissioner said: “It is wicked and disappointing that people who have benefited so much from the state government will put up such a show of shame just to discredit and sabotage their own state.
“It is good to put on record that a team from CAF is currently in Yenagoa to inspect the facility and so far, they have been impressed by what is on the ground including the recent upgrade before the CAF Cup game between Bayelsa United and AS Ashanti of Guinea.
“As a ministry, we are confident that the next home game involving Bayelsa United will be played here.The report is mischievous, concocted and hatched to favour a particular contractor who missed out in the recent renovation and pitch maintenance.
“While it was alleged in the report that CAF had banned the pitch, it is curious in another breath in the story that Bayelsa Government could quickly work on the stadium if it is to host the next game.
“The renovation of the stadium facilities which began under Timipre Sylva’s administration has gulped well over N1bn by the main contractor and the job is still not completed after 10 years.”
Igali said his ministry had reviewed the development and decided to put a stop to the drama around the unending stadium contract under three different administrations in Bayelsa.