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Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 19:14 UK

UAE slams Nigeria facilities

By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos

Under-17 World Cup logo
UAE is threatening to withdraw from the Under-17 World Cup

The team manager of the United Arab Emirates team Jamal Hassan has launched a savage attack on the facilities for the Fifa Under-17 World Cup in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) are due to be based there in Group E alongside Malawi, Spain and the USA.

Hassan threatened to withdraw his team from the tournament if the Gwagwarawa and Bayero University training pitches are not completely revamped.

"How do they expect my youthful players to come and train on a pitch without grass?" he told Punch newspaper in Nigeria.

"They want us to train on the field which cannot accommodate even a five-a-side game. This is horrible; I have never seen a thing like this all my life in football.

"Even the doping room is only comparable to a detention centre, there are no excuses, and we cannot stay here."

Even though facilities in Kano have come under severe criticism from the local media, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) in the city insist they are on track to be perfect hosts to the teams in Group E.

They want us to train on the field which cannot accommodate even a five-a-side game

Jamal Hassan, UAE team manager

Emeka Odikpo, a spokesman for the 2009 Under-17 LOC defended the work being done on their facilities.

"We have challenges in Kano but some of these exaggerated condemnations are unfounded," Odikpo told BBC Sport on Friday.

"The training pitches are a major concern but there is ongoing work there to make things ready because we want them to be graced by, and appreciated by teams coming here.

"They (UAE) cannot pull out because it is a Fifa-organised tournament, besides Fifa looked at Kano and pronounced it fit to stage the tournament.

"Things that need to be done are minor which can be fixed in matter of hours and not days.

"We will, of course, seek to address any concerns raised by the UAE officials and hope to work it out to reach a satisfactory conclusion for all."

Earlier in the week, Fifa vice-president Jack Warner raised fresh concerns over Nigeria's preparations for their hosting of October's Under-17 World Cup.

Warner says organisers of the Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria should use Egypt's preparations for the under-20 event as a catalyst to help them get ready.

Football's world governing body at one stage threatened to move the tournament from Nigeria because of organisational difficulties.



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see also
Lagos organiser slams U-17
22 May 09 |  African
Fifa condemns Nigeria preparations
21 May 09 |  African
Fifa loses faith in Nigeria
27 Jan 09 |  African
Nigeria U-17 World Cup in doubt
22 Oct 08 |  African


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