Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side, Akwa United FC of Uyo, has announced that Under- 23 striker, Ubong Ekpai, remains a bona fide player of the team despite speculations that the player may have joined Israeli clubside, Macaibi Haifa.
According to a press by the Media Officer of the club, Uwem Ekoh, at no time did Akwa United negotiate the signing or the release of the player to Macaibi Haifa, not talk of the payment of transfer fees and so on.
The statement said that after undue pressure from the Macaibi Haifa and the player, Akwa United’s Chairman, Paul Bassey only consented to Ubong visiting Israel to “see things for himself before deciding on whether he wants to play in Israel or not.”
“This came after we personally advised Ubong to have patience that as a key member of Samson Siasia’s national Under -23 squad to the Rio Olympics in August, he is most likely to attract better offers especially from European clubs,” Bassey was quoted as saying.
It is even on record that the chairman told Ubong’s agent that the timing of the visit was wrong as Akwa United is in the fore front of the quest of returning to Africa through the league, but was assured that though the star striker will miss the Lobi Stars match that he will return in time for the Enyimba clash in Uyo in week 13.
“Should we decide to let Ubong go to Israel or any other club for that matter, you can bet that it will only be after the current league season,” the release announced.
The Akwa United spokesman said that it was a rude shock to later learn that Ubong has signed a deal with the Israeli club.
“Is that how a player’s transfer is done? Have we entered into any agreement? Has a contract been formalised, have they paid? This is ridiculous, to say the least.
“As a club we will never stay in the way of a player who decides to move on in life by seeking greener pastures elsewhere but we owe it to our youth to advice them properly as the lure of the dollar can sometimes be deceptive,” the statement from the club’s spokesman observed.
Meanwhile, Akwa United has taken exception to the unprofessional behaviour of Ubong’s agent and insists that it has no deal with the Israeli club on Ubong Ekpai. “If they want him, they should come to us and negotiate the player’s release.