Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, says Kenya team to Nigeria for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Super Eagles were responsible for their own travel troubles in Lagos, and chose a poor primary school pitch to train despite being offered a much better pitch at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
On Wednesday, pictures emerged showing Harambee Stars players training on a barren pitch at Ajao Estate Primary School, Isolo in Lagos, and their officials reportedly blamed their Nigerian counterparts for the shoddy arrangement.
Bola Oyeyode, the NFF official who is the coordinator for the game, told KickOffNigeria.com that the Kenyans had no one to blame but themselves.
“To start with, they were playing hide and seek about their travel arrangements,” Oyeyode said. “They refused to communicate their arrival date to us despite numerous letters to them.
“In all those communications, we copied their embassy here in Nigeria and FIFA. We still have the letters here.
“It was only on Monday afternoon that they wrote to inform us that they would arrive on Wednesday afternoon.
“Even their embassy was finding it hard getting information out of them. An embassy official called Mr. Tony was doing his best to help us, but even he could not get anything out of them.”
When information eventually came, it was too sketchy, according to Oyeyode.
“They told us they were coming with a 25-man delegation, but didn’t give us any names, so we could not book the connecting flight to Calabar early.
“When it was getting late, we used our relationship with the airline to book 25 seats with no names, only for them to arrive with a 35-man party.
“In their letter, they never said they wanted to train in Lagos. The arrangement was for them to come in and fly straight to Calabar. But their flight arrived at noon, and the flight to Calabar is usually at 11a.m.
“At no time did we discuss anything about a chartered aircraft. Even our own team, who are African champions, flew to Calabar on a regular commercial flight.”
Regarding the training ground, Oyeyode said the Kenyans picked the poor pitch on the advice of one of their ‘consultants’.
“We went out of our way to book the training pitch of the National Stadium in Surulere for them at a very short notice.
“But they refused to go there, after they were advised by one their men on the ground here, and they chose that primary school to train.”