Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick has praised the ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the death of Nasarawa United FC defender Chineme Martins for “a great good job” despite the obstacle of the player’s family being “vehemently opposed” to an autopsy into his death.
Twenty-three-year-old Martins slumped and died midway into their Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Matchday 23 fixture against Katsina United at the Lafia Township Stadium on 8 May.
Martins’ death drew widespread condemnation after several amateur videos of the incident exposed the shocking lack of emergency health services at the stadium.
The NFF responded by issuing strict directives banning domestic matches at stadiums without the full complement of emergency health personnel and equipment.
The football-governing body also instituted a panel to investigate the circumstances of the player’s death and recommend appropriate safety, security and medical measures in the interest of the domestic game.
Speaking on a breakfast programme on Arise TV on Monday, Pinnick revealed that the panel has concluded its fieldwork and that only the lockdown from the coronavirus pandemic is preventing the panel’s report from being submitted to the Ministry of Sports.
The NFF supremo however despaired at the refusal of the player’s family to sanction an autopsy into his death which would have provided more insight and helped the panel fashion a more thorough and far-reaching report.
“The committee has worked to an appreciable level; done with its report. The members have done a great job in a short time and I must commend them,” Pinnick said.
“I am, however, worried that the family of the late player has so far refused to give the go-ahead for an autopsy to be done on the corpse.
“We were surprised that they were vehemently opposed to an autopsy but there is nothing we can do,” the Delta state born administrator added.
Pinnick also revealed that Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr will receive an offer to extend his contract within ten days and also cast doubt on the possibility of this season’s AITEO Cup holding due to the disruption of the domestic football calendar by the coronavirus pandemic.