A bus carrying Nigerian Premier League side FC Ifeanyi Ubah was attacked by armed robbers leaving some players “critically injured” according to the club.
FC Ifeanyi Ubah confirmed the bus was shot at near Lokoja, capital of the central state of Kogi, as it drove players to an away match against Jigawa Golden Stars in Kano in the north of the country.
“The driver was shot while some members of the coaching crew and players were critically injured. The affected persons are currently being treated and are responding to treatment,” the club said in a statement.
“We wish to use this medium to appeal to the Federal Government as well as football regulatory bodies Nigerian Football Federation(NFF) and the League Management Company (LMC) to further intensify security efforts to ensure the safety of teams who often have no choice than to travel long distances by road, especially clubs owned by Private investors who are made to invest their hard earned money in the growth and development of Nigerian football,” the statement added.
The privately run FC Ifeanyi Ubah became an official partner of English side West Ham in 2016.
Nicknamed ‘The Anambra Warriors’, they are currently in mid-table in the country’s top flight.
As the country’s economic problems have worsened, clubs have been forced to cut their travel expenses, making hazardous road journeys unavoidable for most clubs.
Back in March 2015, five Kano Pillars players were shot by gunmen in an attack on the club’s entourage as they travelled to Owerri for the start of the Nigerian Premier League season.
Ten months later, the bus of two-time African champions Enyimba was attacked by armed robbers as they travelled to a pre-season tournament.
Clubs in the Nigerian top tier, including Ikorodu and Akwa United have also been involved in road accidents en route to away matches.