By Chimezie Anaso
Awka – Ifeanyi Ubah, President of Nnewi-based FC Ifeanyi Ubah, has admitted that the club was owing its players but said that their welfare was still being taken care of.
Ubah said this during an interactive session with some youths in Awka on Tuesday.
He said indebtedness to players was common to most clubs in the country because of the inability of the League Management Company (LMC) to pay the clubs what was due to them.
The business mogul said the players were right to demand for their pay but decried social media attacks on him as if his was the only club owing.
“The players can agitate because it is their due, they deserve their pay, but the LMC is owing all football clubs in Nigeria for two years now, they have not paid a dime.
“They have been collecting rights from Television, Radio, Adverts running into billions but they have not paid anything to us.
“Governments use their clubs for politics but we are using our own to keep our youths gainfully busy.
“My players are all being taken care of irrespective of the fact that they are being owed like most clubs owe their players too,” he said.
The Anambra Warriors financier described football business in Nigeria as very difficult, saying it was only sheer ingenuity that has kept him in top flight.
He said that some clubs owned by the states could not play their continental matches at home because of inadequate infrastructure, noting that he built a CAF approved stadium in two years.
“Football is expensive to run; out of the 20 clubs in Nigeria’s premier league, 17 belong to state governments, only three are owned by individuals.
“I deserve commendation, staying in the Premier League is not a mean feat, ABS FC owned by the Senate President tried, it was there for one season with all his clout.
“Remo Stars owned by Bet Naija proprietor was there and only stayed for just one season, and even Ikorodu United owned by DSTV manager lasted one season,” he said.
“But Anambra Warriors have been there since four years, I have been highly criticised on the social media but nobody has given me money to run the club, I am just enjoying myself, it’s not political.
“In two years we won FA Cup, we played the South-East and South-South competition last year and won,” he said.
Ubah said that sports were another way of empowering youths and making them discover their talents.
He decried the absence of functional sports stadium in the state, adding that with his stadium, he had “tread where the angels feared’’ and provided the grounds for youths to take part in sports economy.
“Look at the Amansea Stadium, since 1999 up till now, successive governments have refused to invest there, but sports is very import for the development of our youths.
“As a state, we do not have a stadium but I have been able to build one in two years and got certification from CAF.
“Enyimba was playing in Calabar for three years; Plateau United was playing their CAF matches in Lagos.
“Is it not unfortunate that as a governor, your team which is playing continental matches where youths are supposed o cheer them have to play them in faraway places,” he
Ubah has been accused of owing his players for up to eight months which had led to the depletion of the team with the departure of some players.