Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Akwa Utd In N250m Debt

It appears that the crisis rocking relegated side in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL), Akwa United, could go beyond on-field, as indications have emerged that the club is enmeshed in a staggering N250 million debt.
Akwa United chairman, Isong Isang, was recently quoted to have revealed that the club has a mounting debt of N250 million hanging over its head after the close of the 2008/2009 Premier League season in which it was relegated.
“As I am talking to you now, we are still indebted to the tune of N250 million,” the relegated club chairman was quoted as saying.
Isang also disclosed that the first amount of money released by the financier of the club, the Akwa Ibom State government, that he had used it in paying players, one of its coaches as well as other sundry matters last season.
He further explained that the club has been able to foot 70 per cent of the signing-on fees, match bonuses and salaries for players recruited last season.
“When the first money was released, I was able to use a total of N40 million to pay the players, N12 million for arbitration, N2 million for coach (Godwin) Uwua and N15 million to NFF when Akwa was in trouble and that was how that money went.
“The management was able to pay 70 per cent sign-on fees to the players as well as their salaries, apart from match bonuses which not all have been paid. Even the club that won the league had not been able to pay what we have paid so far for players,” he was reported to have said.
Attempts to reach the chairman of troubled Akwa United, Isong Isang, on telephone earlier in the week did not materialise, as his mobile telephone rang without response from his end.
Our correspondent in a bid to get to the root of the huge debt lingering over the club decided to send a text message to Isong on Monday.
The Akwa United chairman could only reply by sending a text message that read thus: “At meeting, please call back.”
At about evening on Monday, Isang called our correspondent to give a clear picture concerning the debt and he explained that it was a debt he inherited, as his administration is only owing a few number of match bonuses.
“That debt is not for the 2008/2009 season. It is a debt that I inherited from the previous. The said amount includes liabilities that cover signing-on fees especially from previous season,” he simply said.
But the media officer of the club, Uwem Ekoh, said in a different interview that it is the first time he is being put in the picture concerning the finances of the Uyo-based outfit.
Ekoh refused to make any comment on the issue since he is in the dark over the development and directed all questions concerning the N250 million debt to the club chairman.
“I am hearing this for the first time. I don’t know much about the club’s finances since I am not in the accounts’ department of the club. But I know that the club chairman would be in a better position to talk on the issue (of the N250 million debt),” Ekoh remarked.
This huge debt could force the club to allow some of its prized stars move on to newer challenges.
Some of the influential players that are likely to be on their way out are last season’s top scorer in the Premier League, Akarandut Orok, goalkeeper Ambrose Vanzekin, Nnamso Edo, Ogbonna Onuoha, James Mmaju, Mashall Johnson, Stephen Ubo, Otonwa Otonwa, Simone Badmus, Onyekachi Okoye, Nonso Elias, Promise Onuh, Henry Enyeyibo, Stanislas Toclomitei and Cletus Itido.

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