Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Security Committee, Effiong Johnson says it would be impossible for the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna to play host to Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifying matches owing to security threats the Northern city possesses.
The NFF Executive Committee will meet later this week in Abuja to decide which city gets the nod to host the Super Eagles and their opponents as the preliminary stage of the 2013 Nations Cup enters its second leg and the 2014 World Cup qualification phase begins.
An inspection team from the NFF last week took a look at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium in Ibadan and the U. J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar in view of an alternative venue should Kaduna not pass the security test for the forthcoming matches.
But having witnessed series of bomb attacks in recent times, with the most recent occurring last Thursday, Johnson said he will be the first to vote against Kaduna when the issue comes up at the NFF board meeting.
“I don’t believe Kaduna will get it. Everybody knows the town is not safe. It is clear for all to see. I’ll personally vote against it when the matter comes up at the board meeting later in the week.
“Football keeps all of us together. It is important for us watch and enjoy matches in peaceful environments. As Security Committee chairman, I’ll not be party to putting the lives of players, officials and spectators in danger,” Johnson concluded.
Incidentally, last week Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi told a national daily sports paper that he did not see why his team could not play in Kaduna – the city he launched his campaign as Eagles handler last year.