Sunday Mba scored Nigeria’s winning goal at the Nations Cup final.
A senior Nigerian lawyer, Femi Falana, on Wednesday accompanied the management of Rangers International Football Club of Enugu to the secretariat of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, over the ownership of Super Eagles player Sunday Mba.
Warri Wolves FC and Rangers are claiming ownership of Mba, who displayed an outstanding performance in the 29th Africa Cup of Nations competition in South Africa.
Both clubs and Mba appeared before a four-man NFF Judicial Panel of inquiry to state their cases.
The sitting was, however, adjourned to Thursday, March 7, for the committee’s final verdict.
Mr. Falana told newsmen after the sitting that he was at the Glasshouse to contribute his quota to the development of football in the country.
“I have come here to do my duty, not just as a lawyer, but as someone who is interested in the development of football in this country,” Mr. Falana said. “If there is any inhibition, we have a duty to remove it and allow this player, who is a rising star to achieve and exploit his maximum talent and capability.”
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said the football federation need to resolve Mba’s matter speedily.
“I don’t go to court if am not sure of my case. It is not about money but as I did make clear to all the parties, we need to determine the fate of this player; we should not allow this case to hang on his head like a sword of Damocles.
“He should be able to move on and exploit his talent maximally in his own interest and in the interest of the country,’’ Mr. Falana said.
He said he might seek legal action if it was the wish of his client, if the matter did not go in their favour.
The Chairman of Delta State Sports Commission, Amaju Pinnick, said that the commission was waiting for the committee’s verdict before taking the next step.
“The truth is that they do not know the enormity of damage they are doing to the player’s career because we have written that the full weight of the law should be applied here,” Mr. Pinnick said. “Player, team and everybody that is culpable must be sanctioned.”
The Delta sports head said his party has submitted all the relevant letters to the panel.
“We tendered the letter Rangers wrote requesting for Mba. We also submitted Mba’s contract paper with us for two years; everything the committee requested from us was tendered.
“I believe the only document Rangers tendered was a document showing that Mba signed a six-year contract with them that ended in 2012.
“The issue is not about Sunday Mba, Rangers or Warri Wolves. It is all about redefining a focus for Nigerian football. It is about giving us a tomorrow,” he said.
The sports administrator complained of the invitation of Mr. Falana by Rangers.
“A situation where you see Rangers bringing a Senior Advocate of Nigeria leading four other lawyers does not speak well for football,’’ Mr. Pinnick said.
Mba was one of the Nigeria-based players that shone brightly at the Nations Cup in South Africa. He scored Nigeria’s winning goal against Burkina Faso in the final.