By Andrew Abah, Abuja
The founder/Chairman, Nigerian female club Naija Ratels, Barrister Paul Edeh, has succinctly cleared the air on the controversies and alleged maltreatment by his club on Fakiyesi Abisola Anthonia, who was a player of top flight women club.
Abisola, via a statement issued on social media, had alleged how she has been in pain for a year after suffering an injury playing for the club.
She further alleged that she was neglected and had long been funding her medical bills herself.
Reacting to her claims, Naija Ratels founder, Barr. Edeh said the club he was at no time aware of her complications, adding that the message she claimed she sent wasn’t acknowledged.
Barr. Edeh while noting that the health of his club’s players have always been taken with top priority, pointed that there was a channel of communication between him and any player which is either through the team’s coaches or the Club’s WhatsApp platform.
He noted further that he neither saw the message Bisola alleged to have been sent to him, nor did she communicate to him through the coaches or the Club’s WhatsApp platform before going public.
He said, “…I think my first knowledge of her was about two years ago, when Coach Bankole approached me and said that he is from Ekiti and that he doesn’t have any player he has given birth to from his own state and that he has this player that was introduced to him from an academy, if we can sign her in for him to train her and see if she can be fit for the league and indeed I granted that approval and she joined the team and continued with the training.
Asked if he was aware she was injured as a player of Naija Ratels, he said “first let me sympathise with her situation, because as a founder of the team. One thing that I pride myself of is the fact that there are four cardinal areas that as a club when I founded the team I anchor it around, first is the welfare of the players, the skills of the players; that is ensuring that they get well trained, the third is health and the fourth is education. To the best of my ability, I believe we have implemented these as much as we can.
“Indeed I became aware of her case just about three to four days ago when someone drew my attention to what she wrote on X (Twitter), I think it was a snapshot that was forwarded to me, I immediately forwarded it to coach Bankole (Also live on TV) and asked what happened to Fakiyesi that I’m hearing and he gave me a narrative about what happened and immediately, I asked him to contact her about what really went wrong because I wasn’t aware.
“She mentioned that she sent a message to me, that message I didn’t see it. What I did is I created a WhatsApp platform for all players and the coaches and the reason is for ease of communication and there is no message that they have sent on that platform that I’m not aware of, infact when she had the injury and her transition to even Markurdi… all was manage by management staff led by coach Bankole .
“I was not brought into the picture of this, the coach is here he can attest to that fact.”
Later on, Barr Edeh urged Abisola to keep the money given to her by music producer Don Jazzy for herself, asking her to come to Abuja for comprehensive medical while the club is ready to offset her bills. Reacting to the offer, Bisola spontaneously turned down the offer when the presenter asked her if she was willing to go to Abuja to get treated by her club. READ ALSO:
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Giving his own account, Coach Olowookere Bankole said, “When she was here she get her adequate salary at when due, I sent her to coaches about three, I already told the coaches that she is coming and I wish they took her upon, there was never a time she told me she run the treatment herself, because we have hospital who take care of all our players, she can testify to that, she is not the only player been sent to that place.
“The doctors have reports of her coming to the hospital. If there is anytime she spent her money I didn’t know. I know that I sent her to the hospital for treatment over there. She attended the orthodox and traditional in Markurdi.”