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EXCLUSIVE: GM reappointment exhumes troubling questions for struggling Nigeria’s premier league club

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Planned reappointment of Bashir Badawi, a former general manager (GM) of struggling Kwara United Football Club, to his old club, rather than elicit excitements, has created a wave of resentment from stakeholders of the club over many questions Badawi left unanswered before he was previously axed.

The local Football Association, Diaspora Digital Media (DDM) learnt, is believed to be uneasy about the prospect of his return.

This is because, according to a highly placed source within the association, the position of GM is not envisaged by the law setting up Kwara United as football business entity.

News broke on various sporting platforms in the north central Nigerian state that Badawi gave the nod to the management of the club to have him reinstated after being axed from the club management last season.

The reinstatement reportedly followed so much lobbying and pressure on the sports loving state governor, Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq.

But critical stakeholders feel that such appointment at this time will hurt rather than help the club.

Kwara United, after an away draw in Enugu, South East Nigeria, lies at the bottom four of the Nigerian Premier Football League, NPFL, table, destined for the chop at the end of the season if its fortunes doesn’t improve.

“It’s rather hasty, if the news is true,” explained a club management staff on the report that Badawi has been reinstated.

“I strongly think that the governor was misled on this very decision if indeed his reappointment came from him,” the staff added, asking that he should not be mentioned in name because he is not authorized to speak.

A very powerful political ally of the governor with close links to mining activities in the state is said to have mounted pressure on Governor Abdulrazaq to have the former GM reinstated.

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Governor Abdulrazaq has shown in the past that he is rather flexible on matters of sports and football administration in Kwara State.

But Badawi’s return, say stakeholders who spoke to DDM could potentially exhume questions better left unanswered in the management of top tier football in Nigeria.

The former GM left Kwara United last season amid serial allegations bordering on fiscal management in the areas of match prosecution.

Called ‘match logistics’, this are funds clubs in Nigeria allocate towards meeting unforeseen contingencies especially ahead of away matches.

The exact subheads are hazy, ranging from public relations financing, placating hostile fan base home and away to many other contingencies left at the discretion of the handler of such fund.

“It’s like ‘security vote’ to governors and president in Nigeria,” explained former vice chairman of the Kwara club.

His accounting for such monies, say his accusers, hasn’t been exactly stellar.

“He regularly pinched from the money,” explained a former board member of the club.

“A case in point is the strong allegation that the money was used to set up loan scheme among some members of the club’s board members of the club last season other than the purpose it was meant for,” the source said.

Informers also told the medium that Badawi had been under similar suspicion while he worked with Rivers United, another NPFL club before coming to Kwara United.

“His role at the club ruffled feathers within Nigeria’s Referees Association, NRA,” explained a source within the referees’ body.

Sources within the Kwara club insisted that the ill will from interests within NRA brought by Badawi affected the club last season.

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The allegations against Badawi could potentially damage the referees body and hence NPFL so the matter was delicately handled.

“Referees were extra wary around us last season,” said a Kwara United official.

The endured a torrid last season, surviving the drop only by whiskers.

The suspicion didn’t end with his exit from Kwara United, say club sources, too.

They allege, again, that Badawi had worked against the clubs campaign even while outside, for instance while the club played away, this season, to Bayelsa.

Club officials allege that a referee turned down an inducement to provide hostile officiating against Kwara united against home club for a fee of N200, 000 from Badawi.

There were also claims that his name featured in rumored inducements of Kwara United players to bet on club matches.

For instance, there was an incident where Badawi got a mention in an alleged deal in Ikene, Ogun State during the last match of the club.

Money accruing from the deal was said to have led into an argument with former board member of the club.

After the board of the club was dissolved by the governor last season, the former GM didn’t return.

Rather, a Team Manager, was hired in his stead.

In snatches of responses made on these serial allegations via whatsapp, Badawi denied some of them, describing the enquiries as ‘bad questions’ which he felt inclined to ignore but would answer for sake of balancing the story.

Spoken in colloquial English that DDM had to translate as transparently as possible, Badawi considered paying N200,000 as ‘waste’.

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Interestingly, though, he considered such as part of ‘match logistics’.

And according to him, “Clubs in Nigeria always spend over a Million naira on match logistics”.

He didn’t explain any further.

He however queried the medium on who are the officers Kwara United who made allegations against him.

Of course, DDM has a policy on non-disclosure of sources, credible sources.

He also claims not to know any player involved in match betting at the club.

“No be every bad questions person de answer but for you to balance your reportage as stated.

“Bye,” he ended his snappy chat.

However, there are people who say that Badawi’s obnoxiousness stems from his rather crude manner of approaching issues.

“He is nice. But rough around the edges.

“He is plain and down to earth, but in the business of football that requires some refinement, a lot of such could rub people the wrong way,” said Kayode Alakija, a member of Kwara’s sports reporting guild.

On Sunday, Badawi donated a N200,000 in appreciation of Kwara United’s draw away at Enugu against Rangers International.

 


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