Con­tro­versy hits USM Al­ger-plateau Utd clash

The Punch - - SPORTS - Fes­tus Abu

The con­tro­versy-hit CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup fix­ture be­tween USM Al­ger and Plateau United stag­gered to a new di­men­sion on Mon­day when the Nige­rian champions claimed they re­sisted moves by the Al­ge­ri­ans to al­ter the kick-off of their sec­ond leg clash in Al­giers for Tues­day.

Plateau won the first leg of the sec­ond-tier African club com­pe­ti­tion clash 2-1 in La­gos on April 8, but a bribery al­le­ga­tion took some of the shine off the Jos side’s laboured win.

South African ref­eree Vic­tor Gomes al­leged that he and his as­sis­tants were ap­proached be­fore the game with an of­fer of $30‚000 to fix the re­sult but they re­jected the bribe. Gomes later re­ported the mat­ter to the Con­fed­er­a­tion of African Foot­ball.

How­ever, both clubs de­nied the al­le­ga­tion, with USM stat­ing that the al­le­ga­tion was a “hate cam­paign to desta­bilise the club”.

Plateau said they couldn’t have off­fered $30‚000 to fix the en­counter when they are em­broiled in fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

Re­ports have claimed this time round that USM, who re­quire an out­right vic­tory to reach the group stage, pres­sured Plateau of­fi­cials to agree to a kick-off change. The Nige­ri­ans suf­fered a de­layed flight to the Al­ge­rian cap­i­tal due to weather.

Spokesman for the Nige­rian Premier League gi­ants Al­bert Dakup said USM of­fi­cials told them that play­ing the match late in the evening would boost their gate tak­ings.

“While we were train­ing at the USMA Sta­dium, two of­fi­cials of USM ac­costed Plateau United team man­ager, and an NFF of­fi­cial who ac­com­pa­nied the team try­ing to con­vince them to change the kick-off time,” Dakup was quoted by the News Agency of Nige­ria as say­ing on Mon­day.

“The move was, how­ever, re­jected by the team be­cause in­ves­ti­ga­tion shows that the hosts are not com­fort­able with the tim­ing which is not favourable to them.

“The rea­son is that the weather won’t be to their ad­van­tage, as the weather may not be cold enough be­fore the match kicks off at 6pm (as sched­uled by CAF).

“The of­fi­cials of USM Al­ger gave a flimsy ex­cuse that most of their fans might be de­nied the op­por­tu­nity of watch­ing the game, be­cause of the heavy traf­fic dur­ing the kick-off.”

Other teams rep­re­sent­ing Nige­ria in the com­pe­ti­tion are MFM, Eny­imba and Akwa United.

Mean­while, Eny­imba, who Bid­vest drew 1-1 in South Africa with Wits, are favourites to progress to the group stage. The for­mer Nige­rian champions host the South Africans in Cal­abar on Tues­day.

Akwa, who host Su­danese club Al Hi­lal in Uyo on Wed­nes­day, need to over­come a 2-0 deficit. MFM, who lost 1-0 to Djoliba in La­gos, also need to win 2-0 to ad­vance.

•In­di­ana Pac­ers’ Myles Turner (right) with Cleve­land Cava­liers’ Rod­ney Hood dur­ing their 2018 NBA Play­offs at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleve­land, Ohio…on Sun­day. The Pac­ers won 98-80. Photo: AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.