The Nigeria National League Group B1 between Shooting Stars and Bendel Insurance in Benin has been postponed indefinitely by the management of the league after 3SC players were struck down with stomach illnesses ahead of the clash.
Team manager of 3SC, Dimeji Lawal, who confirmed the development, said the players had been receiving treatment at a hospital in Ibadan. He said 22 players were affected by the illnesses suspected to have been contacted after their dinner on Tuesday night.
Shooting Stars and Insurance are fighting for their group’s first position and perhaps automatic promotion to the Premier League if the play-off is dropped as qualification route. While it is 3SC’s last game of the season, Insurance still have a game to play. Shooting Stars lead with 28 points while Insurance have 26.
According to Lawal, 3SC were preparing for the match when the players began to complain of stomach discomfort after their meals.
The Saudi ’89 FIFA U20 World Cup silver medallist told one of our correspondents, “After tests by our medical team, it was confirmed that they had contacted food poisoning. We alerted the NNL and we were told that the match had been postponed indefinitely. Medical reports from our doctor will be considered before a new date will be announced.
“We have a bright hope of clinching qualification to the Premier League. We are leading the group with two points ahead of Insurance. Normally, we have both qualified for the play-off but you may not know. The play-off may be cancelled. That is why we must take the match seriously.”
In a letter, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital Dr Olufemi Adesanya confirmed that 3SC players were brought to the hospital.
“It has become imperative to intimate you about the treatment of21 players of the Shooting Stars that were seen up till about 11pm yesterday (Monday) in our Casualty Ward,” the letter read.
“The medical records showed that 21 of them had gastroenteritis out of food poisoning and were placed on treatment. A follow-up will be essential medically.”
Spokesman for the NNL, Amar Ignis, said, “A new date for the match will be announced in due course. All officials have been duly informed. It is a Week 17 match and it was earlier scheduled for October 20 but shifted to October 28 and another development caused it to be moved again to Wednesday before this new development.”