ABRACADABRA! 2 Months After; Bayelsa Tournament Winners Still Wait For Cash
The different cheques provided to the winners in the the Restoration Cup tournament held in Bayelsa State are appearing like there were just mere paper gifts or promissory notes.
But their hope for the pay is running out. Some of them have even left the city to pursue their plights.
It has been two months since the cheques for different cash prizes were presented to the first, second and third teams, but none of the teams have received their pay.
Things are different from the first tournament where players received their monies days after the tournament.
Is it just bureaucracy in the system or sheer deceit?
The tournament, which was the second edition of the Governor's Unity Cup, commenced on May 2 and ended on June 3, 2018.
It took place at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex, Ovom in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State.
The tournament was organised to discover new talents, foster Unity among communities, curb cultism, prostitution and drug abuse.
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A total of 150 communities across the eight Local Government Areas competed in the tournament where Peretorugbene won the final with a 2—1 goal margin against Opu-Nembe.
The entire prize money was 10.5 million Naira in different cheques presented to four finalists - Otuasegha took 4th position with 500,000 Naira, Toru-Orua came 3rd with 2 million Naira, Opu-Nembe 2nd with 3 million Naira while Peretorugbene clinched the first price of 5 million Naira.
They have waited patiently for over 8 weeks, but their patience is running out of steam.
Aggrieved players from Peretorugbene, a community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state, stormed the office of the Sport Council in Yenagoa.
The players who were ready for a showdown with the organisers of the match, were promised that payment would be made within 2 weeks, but an extra 6 weeks have been added.
One of the organisers of the tournament, who pleaded anonymity, said "Sterling Bank and our co-sponsors have all redeemed their vows.
"We are waiting for the Governor to bail us out. Honestly, I feel pity for these boys.
"As we speak, the players are not happy".
Some players have already mapped out plans of what they would do with their share of the money.
One of the players from Opu-Nembe, said: "As a graduate without a job, I intended to start a poultry business with my share of our prize money.
"But, from stories we hear, someone is trading with our money. I didn't expect this".
Some others have found something else to do even while they still hope that the money would hit their accounts some day.
When contacted, one of the goalkeepers who didn't also want his name mentioned, told Bounce News that a good Samaritan offered him a job in a bakery.
He intends to work hard for his wife and two children.
There are still some persons who believe the footballers would be paid and a Sports Analyst, Mrs Vicki Tubo, is one of such.
"The players will be paid soon”.
"They should exercise patience at this period.
"They will receive theirs once they finish paying civil servants salaries," she added.
Despite these assurance, the players are still pushing for their money, as they plan to hold a protest today in Opu-Nembe.
Several attempts to speak with officials of the Ministry of Sports failed, as no one was willing to comment on the issue.
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