By Albert Akota
Fresh controversy has erupted at the ongoing women football tournament organised by the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) after it was discovered that a club, Bayelsa Queens, fielded Gift Monday as an eligible player.
Already, Delta Queens, one of the league title contenders have launched protest via a letter sent to the leadership of NWFL dated May 18, 2022.
Part of the letter signed by the club secretary Mr. Pinnick Alero reads, “Permit me to refer you to Article 11,9 of NWFL league rule book of players rules that say,
“A player shall only register and play for one club in the league during a season, except if properly transferred to another club within the season; provided that a player may not play for more than two clubs within same season.
“11.10 says, any club found guilty of double registration or false procurement of registration or transfer shall be suspended for a period of one year.
“May I also inform you that, Natasha Witika of Konak Belediyespor, a Zambian player, but presently playing for Bayelsa Queens FC, did not meet the eligibility of Players’ Rules on international transfer, being that the transfer window has closed in January, 2033, and Natasha came into Nigeria three (3) weeks ago.
“In view of the above, we employ the management of the NWFL/Super 6 to use their good office to act according to the stipulated rule.”
The Bayelsa women football outfit had gone ahead to sign and are featuring Gift who had played for both Rivers Angel’s and parent club FC Robo in the current 2021/22 NWFL football season.
Gift who already has six goals at the Super six competition holding in Benin City, Edo state capital represented Rivers Angels in the CAF women Champions League and first stanza of the ongoing NWFL season, investigation has shown.
Afterwards, she returned and represented FC Robo in the second stanza of the current campaign.
Further findings revealed that having registered and represented three different club sides in a particular season, Gift has contravened both FIFA and NWFL rules in a semblance of recording a hat-trick show just as she did on the pitch while playing for Bayelsa Queens against Naija Ratels on matchday two of the NWFL Super six.
When contacted, a top official of Rivers Angels who preferred to lie low said both Gift and Bayelsa Queens were alerted that registering the player will amount to breach of eligibility rules, “yet they scuffed the advise, and surprisingly the league organisers registered her.”
Reacting, a former chairman of the defunct Nigeria Premier League (NPL) and a legal expert Chief Ramson Baribote said though FIFA has given federations an optional to adopt and adapt, but that such doesn’t give clubs or league organisers the right to go against FIFA laws, adding,
“…What we see in Nigeria is a situation where individuals administering the league decide to follow the rule when it favours them and jettison same when it turns otherwise.”
When contacted, an official and head of media NWFL, Mr. Dapo Sotumimu, who described the issue as “technical” said anyone or club complaining about any player’s ineligibility should simply write officially to the secretariat of the league organisers.