Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Enugu State chapter, has attributed Enugu Rangers’ poor performance in the 2022/23 Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL) to the neglect and failure of the state government to complete renovation work on the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.
Owing to the closure of the stadium for repairs, Enugu Rangers have been playing their games at the Akwa Township Stadium, Anambra State for two years.
But the journalists said the exile has affected Rangers’ performance such that they are now reduced to fighting against being relegated from the NPFL.
In a communiqué issued at the end of their congress at the weekend, the association said: “SWAN frowns at the general poor state of sports in Enugu State in the last five years, occasioned by the state government’s lip service to the all important sector.
“SWAN also expressed displeasure over the continued use of Awka Stadium, Anambra State, for the execution of Rangers FC home matches in the NPFL, as a result of the failure of the Enugu State government to complete the renovation work at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium for over two seasons running.”
The association also expressed dismay by the failure of the state government to appoint a team manager and a general manager to oversee Rangers International FC.
They recalled that Rangers have been without a team manager and a general manager for the two seasons after the former occupiers, Amaobi Ezeaku and Davidson Owumi, respectively left the club. Enugu State government awarded the contract for the renovation of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium playing turf in October 2021.
It is not clear if the Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led government, which is on its way out, will complete the exercise before leaving office next month. But the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Manfred Nzekwe, told journalists in Enugu early in the year that the stadium ‘will not be an abandoned project’ under Governor Ugwuanyi.
Meanwhile, sports writers have tasked the incoming administration in the state to hand over sports administration to technocrats in the sector.