Sports journalists barred from Super Eagles training

There was a mild drama on Wednesday evening at the Mobolaji Johnson Stadium, Onikan, Lagos as sports journalists were denied access to cover the Super Eagles training.

In preparation for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON qualifying fixture against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone, the Super Eagles camped in Lagos.

The Super Eagles had on Monday trained ahead of the encounter, which is billed to hold on Sunday, June 18, at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium, Monrovia.

And in what seemed to be the last training before travelling, the Media Officer, Super Eagles Babatunde Raji, had sent messages to journalists to cover the training by 5.50pm.

This was the messge sent.

“AFCON 2023 QUALIFIER

June 14, 2023

Training: 5.50pm

Venue: Mobolaji Johnson Arena

Media Access ✅.”

Earlier, before the training, there was a Nigeria National League, NNL match between Sporting Lagos and Smart City, which ended 4-0 in favour of Sporting Lagos, who secured a ticket to the Super 8 play-off.

After the match, the security officers informed all spectators to go out in preparation for the Super Eagles training at Onikan Stadium.

But some journalists stayed while some gained entrance until a police officer came into the stadium to announce that he had been ordered by an undisclosed chief security officer (CSO) to inform all journalists to go outside.

With the hope of gaining entrance back into the stadium, sports journalists obeyed but later were seen seeking for entrance at the sight of the opening of the second gate for vehicles to come out of the stadium.

For the training which was supposed to start 5:50pm. The Super Eagles arrived at 5:40pm.

At past 6pm, only three sports journalists were allowed in at preference while others were left hapless.




     

     

    In an interview with newsmen, a senior journalist with Premium Times, Tunde Eludini described the situation as disappointing.

    “I am particularly disappointed; it is very painful to act based on official communication and still be treated in such a manner. I know how much it cost me to get to the stadium at short notice.”

    “If you don’t want the Media around the team for any reason, then you don’t invite them. I hope the communication will be harmonised better and such doesn’t repeat itself. I wish the Eagles all the best nonetheless,” he said.

    Another sports journalist who pleaded anonymity said, “The situation was very comical because the information was passed that there would be media access at the stadium today in our platforms. On getting there, we were told the CSO directed them to send everyone out.”

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