Former Nigeria youth coach, John Obuh, said players in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) need orientation on the risks they face when they travel by road during breaks.
Obuh made the statement while reacting to the unfortunate death of Enugu Rangers forward Ifeanyi George on Sunday morning and the kidnapping of Enyimba midfielder Dayo Ojo later on the same day.
Football activities in Nigeria, including the NPFL, were suspended last Wednesday as the country continues to work in containing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and thus, granted the players permission to leave their clubs.
George, 26, died along Benin-Agbor expressway when his car bumped into a stationary truck while Enyimba’s Ojo was abducted alongside Abia Warriors’ Benjamin Iluyomade on Benin-Owo highway.
In avoiding similar incidents in the future, Obuh believes players should be restricted from travel during breaks and measures should be in place if they are to embark on any.
“The players and the officials, including the coaches during the league season have enough risks of travelling,” Obuh told Goal.
“If para-adventure you have no opportunity not to travel, most especially during this 14-day quarantine, immediately you hear there is a break you don’t just have to jump into the car and start travelling.
“It is not the best for the players. These players don’t even want a day off, because once there’s a break they already have plans of travelling.
“That is why I still want to believe they really need to be orientated.
“They really need to understand that travelling is not the best option at every point in time but if they want to travel, they must make the necessary arrangements.
“Most especially, those who have a car they need to hire provisional drivers for long trips, and they will be safe. Or at most, they use air flight.”
Aside from the recent abductions and accidents involving players, clubs in the Nigerian top-flight have been the victims of robbery attacks on the road this season.
In curbing this menace, the former Kwara United and Enugu Rangers coach urged clubs to make provision for security personnel before embarking on a trip by road.
“There have been a lot of kidnappings and accidents around the country, but we’re focusing on the players now because of the recent happenings,” he continued.
“In all these things, what we’re missing is security. I will even advise if it’s possible they should hire security for their trips.
“When I was at Akwa United, we usually travel with about three well-armed policemen, so if anything happens on the road at least we should be able to have a sort of protection to an extent before things get bad.
“I think clubs should also key into that kind of provision.”