Abia State Governor, Ikpeazu
The Commissioner for Information in Abia, John Okiyi, on Saturday said Enyimba International Football Club of Aba would return to their home ground of Enyimba International Stadium in Aba in September.
Okiyi told newsmen in Umuahia that the stadium would be ready in September when the reconstruction of its playing turf had been completed.
He said the installation of a new turf, worth one million euros (about N450 million), had been 98 per cent completed.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the contract is being handled by the Yenagoa-based Monimichelle Group.
The commissioner however said while the pitch was almost ready, the entire work in the contract had reached 80 per cent completion.
He said the other works in the contract included the construction of tartan tracks and re-roofing of the spectator stands.
Okiyi said Enyimba International FC would return to the stadium when the entire work would have been fully completed.
“Of course, the club’s team needs to train on the new turf for at least four months before hosting their home matches at the facility.
“But, if the team can be made to play behind closed doors, I can assure that the pitch is ready for them because the contractor has completed his job on the pitch by 98 per cent.
“The remaining two per cent is for him to mount the imported goalposts and nets,” Okiyi said.
He said officials of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) would also inspect the facility and give their approval before it would be declared fit to host matches.
The commissioner said the Abia government had also constructed 32 public toilets at the facility and four additional entrance/exit gates to bring the number to 12.
“For the first time in the history of the stadium, public toilets are being provided for spectators.
“Before now, people usually littered the surroundings of the stadium with faeces, especially on match days.’’
He however said there was no immediate plan to expand the 20,000-seat capacity of the stadium, while the front part of the stadium would also receive a facelift.
Okiyi also said the stadium would be relocated to the Osisioma area of the city in future, when development had moved to the area.
NAN reports that “the People’s Elephant’’ relocated to the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar in 2016 for all their home matches in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and CAF competitions.(NAN)