Plateau United boss Abdu Maikaba says his side’s exit from the Champions League at the the hands of Simba was orchestrated by a combination of high level collusion involving different Tanzanian authorities and bad officiating.
Maikaba’s team crashed out of the competition after a goalless draw with the Tanzanian champions confirmed a 1-0 loss on aggregate in the preliminary round.
Simba had taken a first leg advantage after Cleotus Chama’s winner gave Sven Vandenbroeck’s side a 1-0 win at the New Jos Stadium.
Unlike the first leg in Nigeria which held without incident save for bickering over the rights to broadcast the game, Maikaba says his team was visited with intimidation and underhand tactics right from when they landed at the airport in Dar es Salaam.
Maikaba accused Simba, the Tanzanian FA and airport authorities of acting out a premeditated plan to “remove some of our players not to play this game” declaring their antics as “bad for African football” and adding that ‘teams like Simba will spoil African football”.
The former Enyimba manager was particularly incensed by the bizarre decision of the match commissioner to declare star striker Sunday Adetunji and Jesse Akila Covid-19 positive minutes before kickoff.
Plateau United had undergone testing before departing Nigeria with the results coming back negative.
On arrival in Tanzania, the contingent was subjected to another round of tests on Friday but the results were only announced minutes before kickoff with the starting lineup already published.
Maikaba pointed to the incident as proof of foul play and declared Plateau United will take their misgivings to CAF.
“You can see how the match officials behaved, and the antics played by the Simba officials and the federation here in Tanzania. Right from the airport, we have been intimidated, because they wanted to remove some of our players not to play this game,” Maikaba said after the game on Saturday.
“And with these players they have won in Nigeria, why afraid? Actually we will go to any lengths to make sure that this issue of Covid-19, after testing our players in the last 48 hours, they tested negative that time, and now they are telling us that they are tested positive. We will go to any lengths, we will file our case in CAF.”
Reacting to his side’s performance in the match, Maikaba praised his players but carpeted the officiating at the Benjamin Nkapa Stadium, saying it was biased in favour of the hosts.
“Very pleased, I’m okay with the performance of the players. They did their best but the match officials didn’t even allow them to attack,” he said.
“Most times, you will see that they will foul our players and the match official will ignore it. We are not happy about that, it’s bad for African football. Teams like Simba will spoil African football.”