Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) on Thursday effectively joined the global campaign against doping in elite leagues with the testing of selected players at two different venues of the Matchday 15 fixtures.
Renowned anti-doping expert, Dr Akinwunmi Amao, led a four-member team that administered tests on selected players of Sporting Lagos and Bayelsa United at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan in Lagos where both teams clashed.
Another team of sports medicine personnel handled a similar task in Benin City where Bendel Insurance hosted Abia Warriors.
He expressed delight at the integration of dope control in leagues in Africa as has been common in Europe.
His words: “Dope test in football has taken firm root in big professional leagues in quite a number of countries in Europe for more than a decade while recently it’s being integrated in the African football leagues.”
Chairman of the NPFL, Honourable Gbenga Elegbeleye in his reaction to the successful maiden tests, described it as “quite unprecedented and will be a permanent exercise in our league. We are implementing a zero tolerance for not just abuse of substance but its use by our players.”
Speaking to npfl.com.ng on the exercise, Amao harped on the essence of winning fairly in sports and commended the NPFL for taking steps to ensure that the league is cleansed from possible existence of substance abuse.
“Introduction of dope testing in NPFL matches is a good development in the right direction and it raises the level of compliance with international rules/regulations as well as the integrity of the league management and administration,” remarked the former Medical Director of the Sports Ministry.
Players and officials of the two teams in Lagos received commendation from the medical expert for their level of awareness of doping control and cooperation during the exercise.
“There was good cooperation from the selected players and teams’ officials. The level of awareness of doping control information among the players and their technical officials is substantially good and encouraging,” submitted the Chairman of the Scientific and Medical Commission of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC).
Pledging to support the NPFL and other sports agencies in creating awareness for the negative effects of doping, Amao said: “I will always be committed to the ‘fair play’ principle in football and other sports disciplines not only through dope testing but equally of more importance, the advocacy to create awareness of negative perspectives of doping through education and information strategy.”