NFF calls for prayers against deaths, kidnappings of players

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Monday called on all members of the country’s football family including stakeholders to pray hard against death and kidnapping of players.

This, it said, was in view of recent deaths and kidnappings of football players, which had caused serious concern in the sector.

Three footballers died in a horrendous auto crash along Benin-Agbor Road on Sunday, among them Rangers International FC star forward Ifeanyi George.

Also, Enyimba FC’s Dayo Ojo and Abia Comets’ Benjamin Iluyomade in Ondo State were kidnapped some hours later.

A statement by Ademola Olajire, NFF’s Director of Communication, on Monday quoted President of the Federation, Amaju Pinnick as saying that the deaths and kidnappings were huge causes for concern in Nigeria’s football firmament.

“These sorrowful incidents are becoming too much for us to bear. We must seek spiritual solace and seek help from Almighty God.

“I am short of words following these deaths and kidnappings. We must all get involved in prayers to stop this type of grief and sorrow in our football sector.

“I am heartbroken. Not long ago, we lost Tiamiyu Kazeem of Remo Stars Football Club and Chineme Martins of Nasarawa United in different circumstances.

“We need to call on God to show us mercy and stop these unfortunate happenings,” he said.

George, a former Home-based Eagles star who featured for Nigeria at the 5th African Nations Championship in Morocco early in 2018, died in a car crash alongside Emmanuel Ogbu, a player of Rangers International Feeder team and Eteka Gabriel, also a football player.

All were in a car that ran under a stationary trailer on the Benin-Agbor Road.

Some hours later, in Ondo State, Enyimba FC of Aba’s Dayo Ojo and Abia Comets’ player Benjamin Iluyomade were reported kidnapped in the Owo area of Ondo State.

Pinnick appealed for the release of the players by their captors, adding that the NFF was going through a lot of difficulties already.

“We also earnestly appeal to the kidnappers of Dayo and Benjamin to release them unhurt to their families.

“We are going through too much difficulties at the same time, with the coronavirus pandemic also around.

“We need serious prayers from everyone in the football family,” Pinnick pleaded. (NAN)

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