Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Economic Crunch Hits Transfer Market

Premier League clubs have found it difficult to take advantage of the mid-season transfer window likes its counterparts in Europe with 12 days to its closure, and the poor economy situation in the country has been blamed for the lull of activities. understands that the only big profile deal in the ongoing transfer window remains the signing of Victor Ezeji by Enugu Rangers from Sharks Football Club.
With budgets for season tied to their financiers, who are the state governments in the country, some of the clubs’ accounts are in the red and they can hardly bring in new players.
Clubs such as Sharks FC, Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC), Ocean Boys, Heartland Football Club, Lobi Stars, Niger Tornadoes, Kaduna United, Ranch Bees and Wikki Tourist cannot afford to spend above board since they are cash-strapped.
Plans by Sharks FC to recruit new players appear to have been put on hold following the indefinite suspension slammed on it by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for government interference in the game.
Funds expected to be handed to the club for bringing in new players are yet to be released though it is believed that the money would be made available before the transfer window shuts down on March 15.
Already the club secretary, Cyril Wite Dum, has forwarded the names of some players to the NFF and the Competitions Department of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) for clearance.
Though Shooting Stars has a budget of N350 million for the season, the  money is no where to be found since the club is in dire need of a coach to relieve its general manager and technical director, Mutiu Adepoju, of the stress of having run the club administratively and technically.
The former Nigeria international has pencilled a number of players but may have to go for yet-to-be established players due to the high fees placed on big-name players.
As for Ocean Boys, Heartland FC, Lobi Stars, Niger Tornadoes, Kaduna United, Ranch Bees and Wikki Tourist, the stories are the same.
The seven clubs are battling with their financial books, as they have found it difficult to pay players’ match bonuses and allowances on a regular basis.
The Naze Millionaires as Heartland FC is also called had plans to bring in replacements for injured players and those who had left to join foreign clubs but the deals cannot materialize due to lack of funds.
The club has had to get in touch with Kaduna United to appeal for time to keep Peter Ambrose till the end of the season and come up with the transfer fee for the player as the season continues.
However, coaches at clubs such as Enyimba, Kano Pillars, Warri Wolves, Sunshine Stars and Kwara United are not keen on adding new players to their fold.

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