The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Monday cleared the ongoing rumour about the Arik plane crash carrying the Nigeria U-23 team.
NFF said the Arik plane conveying the U-23 team to Gambia for a pre-tournament camping, made an emergency landing in Ghana on Sunday following a technical problem and that players of the National Under-23 football team were in a stable condition.
The team is said to camp in Gambia from where it will move to Senegal for the African Under-23 Championship scheduled to hold between Nov. 28 and Dec. 12.
The General Secretary of the NFF, Mohammed Sanusi, told newsmen in Abuja that the incident was blown out of proportion adding that the players were not affected in any way by the development.
Sanusi said: “I think the incident was over-blown; there was no issue of crash-landing. The pilot took off and when he saw a red light on the dashboard, he decided to turn back and landed in Ghana; it wasn’t that the plane crash-landed. When they were in Ghana, I spoke with them. I also spoke with them when they landed in Gambia.
“There was nothing like shock among the players; they were even laughing over the incident when I spoke with them, so there was no shock at all. The person that reported didn’t report well, it was over-exaggerated and it was panic reporting,’’
Meanwhile the NFF scribe has commended the Arik pilot for his bravery and decision to make an emergency landing rather than continuing with the journey.
He said: “I must commend the pilot and the management of Arik because when they saw that there was a problem, they did not hesitate to turn back and that saved the situation. If all pilots can behave like the Arik pilot when they see danger and land in nearby airport instead of continuing, I think many air mishaps will be averted,’’ he said.
Also speaking on the Super Eagles Tuesday’s return-leg World Cup qualifying match with Swaziland in Port Harcourt, Sanusi said that the team was well motivated to win the encounter.
Sanusi said: “They have both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation; they are very much ready. They personally want to make name for themselves and that is the greatest motivation, especially when you want to do it for yourself,’’.