Dolphins, Gombe United suffer from Fed Cup shift

The abrupt cancellation of the Federation Cup Round of 16 games in Nigeria caused problems for two Premier League sides.

The Nigerian Federation Cup Round of 16 games was billed to take place between the 20th to 24th of July 2011, but at 10 pm on 17th July a text message from the Nigeria Football Federation announced the games have been suspended till further notice.

At the time this message was sent to the clubs, four time winners of the competition, Dolphins FC had almost concluded a 14 hour road trip from Kano to Ilorin, their center for the competition as they were at Ifake Ekiti, a community just one hour away from Ilorin.

Dolphins were already 1 hour to Ilorin when they got the information that the game had been cancelled.

Gombe United who also had their center in Ilorin had already arrived at the match venue before they heard of the shift.

The Executive Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation claimed their reason for shifting the group stage of the Federation Cup was due to the fact that three Nigerian clubs are playing on the continent and “we wanted to give them a breather to prepare hard for their engagements and be in a position to bring honour to the country,” according to NFF president, Aminu Maigari.

But if that be the case, the Federation Cup Round of 16 will not hold until late in September when the group stage of the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup would have been concluded.

Enyimba FC of Aba is involved in the CAF Champions League; Sunshine Stars and Kaduna United FC are involved in the CAF Confederation Cup and Kwara United and Enugu Rangers are taking part in WAFU Competitions.

At the weekend, Enyimba FC of Aba could only draw 2-2 with visiting Al-Hilal of Sudan in the opening match of the CAF Champions League group stage, just as Kaduna United FC was forced to a 1-1 draw in Kaduna by visiting Inter Clube of Angola. Only Sunshine Stars achieved victory, with a 2-0 win over DC Motema Pembe of DR Congo in Ijebu-Ode.

The 2010/11 Nigeria Premier League season have suffered a series of abrupt shifts and cancellation of games that have totally disrupted the calendar for the season.

The season was initially scheduled to end in May but in the middle of July, the League still has six games left to play while the Cup is still in its Round of 16 stage.
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