THE promise by the Niger state Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu to offer $5, 000 to each of the winners of the recently concluded maiden edition of the Chief Servants’ Squash Open Championship which took place in Minna, the state capital has pitched the players against the Nigeria Squash Federation (NSF) Board.
Governor Aliyu has shortly before the finals which was decided at the Minna Sports Club on Saturday, publicly pledged to add $5, 000 to each of the winners of the star prize, a Ford Focus car and a Mitsubushi space runner for the male and female categories respectively, won by Jonathan Peter and Dasbak Longdi, both of Plateau state.
Trouble however started when some of the players insisted that the Governors’ 10, 000 Dollar monetary incentive was meant for the four finalists that was presented before him by the President of the NSF, Alhaji Adamu Erena and not for the two winners alone.
Besides the controversy over Governor Aliyus’ $10, 000 largesse, the players association is alleging being short-changed by the organizers whom they claimed had promised that, ‘At the end of the championship, every player will go home smiling’, a promise the players said was never fulfilled.
Some of the players had told our correspondent that they were disappointed with the first championship organized by the new leadership after they were made to register for the tournament hoping that the new NSF will be better than the immediate past Board only to be given necklaces without any form of financial incentives.
Other faults against the new Board, the players argued is what they described as ‘disunity’ among the Board members as the President, Adamu Erena is allegedly ‘acting alone’ without seeking for contributions of other Board members on matters of interest.
The recent misunderstanding between Squash players and the organizers of the ‘Winners Takes All’ championship in Minna which was not clearly spelt out to participating players, they had argued is the resultant effects of the lone actions of the NSF President.
“From what we have gathered, I think that the President acted alone, listening to their arguments you can see that most of the Board members are not happy with him about the championship. I blame the entire Board members. First outing, it is really not a pleasant one and not good for the image of the NSF”, one of the players had said.
Meanwhile, Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger state has challenged well to do private and corporate organizations to support government in providing jobs for the youths through sports promotion, particularly at the grassroots level.
The Governor spoke at the finals/prize presentation to winners of the maiden edition of Squash championship organized in his honour by the new leadership of the Nigeria Squash Federation (NSF) in collaboration with the Niger State Squash Association (NSA) in Minna, over the weekend.
Represented by the commissioner for Sports development, Mr. Daniel Shashere, Governor Aliyu who said the state is paying attention to sports more than before as a way of taking the youths off the streets commended the organizers of the championship.
Also speaking, the new President of the Nigeria Squash Federation, Alhaji Adamu Erena said the ‘Winner Takes All’ championship is in fulfillment of his promise to inject new ideas that would spur players and lovers of Squash for greater heights.
Erena who promised better days ahead of Nigeria Squash Federation, Squash players and lovers of the game said it is because of his love for the game that he is sponsoring one of the state players, Bala Adamu to Egypt for further training in Squash ahead of the next Olympics.
While commended Governor Babangida Aliyu for all the support when he had served as the Niger state chairman of the Squash Association which earned him his new position as the new NSF President, Erena expressed appreciation to all who has contributed in one way or the other in the success of the maiden Winner Takes All championship.