James Sowole in Akure
Armed robbers early Wednesday attacked players and officials of Osun United Football Club of Osogbo along the Ore-Ondo Highway while the team was travelling to Osogbo from Calabar where they honoured their Week 14 Bet9ja Nigeria National League match.
The team was attacked when the vehicle in which the team was travelling developed a mechanical fault few kilometers to Ondo town.
THISDAY learnt that as soon as the driver of the vehicle stopped to see what the problem was, armed men reportedly came out from the bush and attacked the footballers.
The 32-seater coaster bus which contained 28 people including 18 players alongside technical crew led by the coach of the team, Mr. Duke Udi were reportedly ransacked by the hoodlums.
According to the source, the attackers matcheted members of the team, particularly the driver of the bus and the teamâ€™s goalkeeper, Ayo Ojo.
It was further learnt that the robbers also collected money, mobile phones and some other valuables from the victims.
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer in Ondo State, Mr. Femi Joseph, said the attackers were not real armed robbers but hoodlums who might be living in the villages around the scene of the incident.
â€œ The incident happened on Wednesday morning at about 1am when members of the team were coming from the Eastern part of the country.
â€œThose people that attacked the footballers are not deadly armed robbers because they only attacked them with cutlasses and sticks, if they were real armed robbers they would attack with guns.
â€œWhen the footballers were trying to retreat, some of them were injured by the hoodlums. The injured ones have been taken to the hospital in Ondo townâ€, he said.
Joseph, who explained that the Police Command had begun investigation into the matter, said the police were already on the trail of the hoodlums who, according to him live in the villages around the scene of the incident.