Kano Pillars head coach Ibrahim Musa says the ongoing restrictions on professional football in Nigeria is doing a lot of harm and puts clubs like Pillars who will compete in CAF interclub competitions at a severe disadvantage.
Pillars will play in next season’s CAF Confederation Cup for the first time in their history after they were put forward as one of Nigeria’s two representatives following the curtailing of the 2019-20 Nigeria Professional Football League season.
They will be joined by Rivers United while Plateau United and Enyimba will play in the CAF Champions League.
The clubs have, however, been unable to hold any sort of preparations for their upcoming campaigns on the continent owing to the ban on domestic football which has been in place since 18 March because of the coronavirus pandemic and Musa has called for the situation to change.
Musa who recently signed a fresh deal to lead Pillars for another year is particularly frustrated by the inability to assess his squad, organise a preseason training programme or even hold trials for prospective signings.
Nigeria’s federal government recently lifted restrictions on non-contact sports but has yet to outline plans for the resumption of football even though restrictions have been lifted on most other activities involving crowds.
And with several African countries including Egypt, Morocco and South Africa having resumed domestic football competitions, Musa believes potential opponents already have a head start which places Nigerian clubs at a significant disadvantage and harms their chances on the continent.
This season’s CAF competitions – extended because of the coronavirus pandemic – will conclude in October and Musa fears Nigerian clubs are in danger of being left in the shade as CAF will forge ahead with plans for next season without regard to Nigerian clubs’ level of preparedness.
“I’m still appealing to our federation and the Federal government, because of this corona issue to allow the teams, all Nigerian teams to start training. Especially these teams that qualified for the continent,” Musa who led Pillars to their first-ever Federation Cup title last year told busybuddiesng.com.
“Because it’s not an excuse to CAF, and they will not wait for any team in Nigeria to say they are not ready. So, CAF will continue their programme.
“We are not training, we are not in the competition, we’re not doing anything, no friendlies so, if we get programme for our teams which will participate in the Cup and the Champions league, it will give us problem because we are not doing anything,” he concluded.