The Sensor investigation reveals that the challenge has been lingering and each time an international match is to be hosted at the stadium, visiting inspection teams are tempted to cancel such meeting due to the decaying state of facilities. Workers at the stadium have also expressed fears that the inspection of facilities ahead of the Nigeria-Cameroon World Cup qualifiers may face similar challenge due to state of the facilities.
According to them, there have been issues with the football pitch and this may have prompted the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to embark on early inspection for the Nigeria-Cameroon encounter coming up in August.
Beside the football pitch, sitting arena, toilet facilities and sanitizers are in bad shape.
It was further learnt that money generated at the stadium during matches are not accounted for.
The money was to aid in the maintenance of the stadium. A staff who works in the stadium told The Sensor in confidence that poor management by sports ministry, non-release of funds for maintenance of the facility, is gradually killing the fortune of the stadium.
He called for release of funds by government.
It would be recalled that the recently held First Akwa Ibom Youth Sports Festival was almost marred as a result of decaying facilities at the internationally acclaimed stadium.
When contacted, the state Commissioner for Housing and Special Duties, Mr. Akan Okon and Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Monday Uko did not respond to calls and text message sent to their phones.
Meanwhile NFF General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi Chas assured that the federation will soon visit the stadium to inspect the state of the pitch, adding that it will make recommendations to Akwa Ibom State government for quick reconstruction.
Sanusi noted that even as the federation would have its plan B in case the bid to host the match at the Nest of Champions, fails, it has strong believe in the readiness of the Akwa Ibom state government to fix the stadium pitch and make it ready to host the World Cup qualifying match.
“we are very much concerned about the Nest of Champions pitch in Uyo as well as all the pitches where our teams will be playing their matches, and we will make sure that proper inspection is done and if the pitch is not in good order, of course, we will request that it should be put in a proper position for us to use it, otherwise you know, it is not proper that we play in a ground that is not good”.
“Of course there is always a plan B. you know there are many pitches in Nigeria that one can use. But I don’t want to say anything on that for now. The issue is that we have a venue for the match and it is obvious that the Akwa Ibom State Government has always been willing to put things on the ground any time we make observations”, Sanusi noted.