Chairman, Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria Task Force, Harrison Jalla, has called for the repositioning of Warri Wolves FC following the inability of the Delta State Government to properly fund the club.
The football administrator, in a statement titled “Sell Warri Wolves FC now”, expressed his disappointment over the misfortune of Warri Wolves and the apparent nonchalance of the Delta State Government towards the growth of the club in the last eight years.
He said, “The free fall of Warri Wolves started right from the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. No quality administrators, coaches, and players were recruited. No attention was given to financial appropriation from the state House of Assembly.
“The crucial role the club was playing that bound ethnic nationalities within the Delta region together was deliberately neglected. Sadly, Warri Wolves died before our very eyes due to gross negligence.
“Warri Wolves should henceforth be insulated from politics and be adequately funded to return it to the elite NPFL division, where it rightly belongs. If six months after 29th May 2023 the new Delta State Government cannot adequately fund Warri Wolves in the league of clubs like Enugu Rangers, Kano Pillars, Enyimba and close neighbours like Rivers United, Akwa United, who are in the same category with Delta in terms of allocation from the federation account, then the Delta State Government should peacefully hand over Warri Wolves to concerned stakeholders.”
Warri Wolves were relegated from the Nigeria Professional Football League in 2021 and the club also agonisingly failed to regain promotion back to the topflight in 2022 after finishing one point behind Bayelsa United in the Southern Group B2 of the Nigeria National League last season.
Subsequently, the Delta State Sports Commission, headed by Tonobok Okowa, dissolved the management of the club led by Moses Etu, and appointed Neville Ambekederemo as the new chairman.
One of the players of the club, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The PUNCH that the welfare of the players had been poorly managed before and after the change of management. He also disclosed that only 11 out of the 35 players that prosecuted the previous season were retained amid outstanding salaries and bonuses.
“After last season ended, salaries stopped and we later got a message that the chairman (Moses Etu) had stepped down and they also sacked the coaches. Before we went for the December holidays, they gave us transport fare to go home but we were told we would be given money for the festive period, unfortunately, we didn’t receive any money,” the player told The PUNCH.
“We just resumed back last week and we were told that there is a delay of funds from the government. Up till now, we have not seen anything. Before the end of last season, we were owed a month’s salary and we have not received that one as well. But most of the old players have been dropped so there is no way to fight for it and also, it’s a new management. But according to the secretary and the management they said they are trying their best to make sure the funds are released but up till now we have not seen anything.”
The player added that the poor attitude of the management last season contributed to the inability of the club to gain promotion.
Reacting to the issues, chairman of the club, Neville Ambekederemo said, “We are not owing any of the players. I can tell you, no player can say he’s not being taken care of under this management. When they were screening, we gave them money and accommodation. Preparations for the new season are underway, we resumed like two weeks ago and we are fully prepared.”