Nsibaba passes away amid PFF’s negligence

KARACHI: Nsibaba Eddy Imeh-Ony, a Nigerian national working as marketing manager with International Professional Link Group (IPLG), a Saudi Arabia-based sports promotion company interested in starting a joint venture with the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), died in Lahore after allegedly receiving shabby treatment by the federation. Dawn was tipped off by a source late Sunday night about the unfortunate demise of the marketing manager who had been invited to Lahore by the PFF back in September 2008. ‘We only found out ourselves just now that he died some 10 days ago,’ said the source.
Nsibaba, who according to the source, suffered a paralysis attack a few days after his arrival in Lahore where he also attended a press conference organised by the PFF to announce the joint venture, was later asked to leave the PFF hostel where he had been staying for some two-and-a-half weeks.

Unwell and with no one to care for him, the Nigerian had then checked himself into a hotel in Lahore. As he had also run out of money he couldn’t even pay his hotel bills. The PFF that had earlier assumed that he had left the country, then made arrangements to send him back to Dubai after his being discovered by a private news channel, which aired his plight.

It is said that Nsibaba blamed the PFF for treating him shabbily. He had come to Lahore from Dubai where he was also involved in similar negotiations with the prestigious Al-Nasr Club. The PFF sent him back to Dubai through a private airline.

‘That is where our association with him ended,’ says PFF’s Secretary-General Col (retired) Ahmad Yar Khan Lodhi, who was surprised to learn that the man had died.

According to sources, Nsibaba was deported from Dubai too then as his visa had also expired.

‘As it becomes the responsibility of the airline involved in flying in an alien to take him back, the airline brought him back to Lahore and reported him to the Nigerian embassy,’ said the source.

‘The First Secretary of the Nigerian Embassy did contact us but we also informed him of our position. The PFF showed Nsibaba extra courtesy in allowing him to stay at its hostel for two weeks. He was supposed to leave in a couple of days,’ explained Col Lodhi.

‘PFF President was not in the country at the time but when he returned, he too was concerned as to why we had allowed someone involved in a commercial deal with the federation, who we had to pay for his services anyway, was staying at our hostel instead of a hotel,’ he added.

When asked how he could have issued orders of throwing out a sick guest from their hostel, PFF President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat said: ‘We weren’t aware at the time that he was unwell. The whole matter has been blown out of proportion by the media.

‘The IPLG was an event management and marketing company that offered us its services. They also mentioned that they had an agreement with the prestigious Al Nasr Football Club which made the deal attractive for us as we looked forward to their arranging matches between the club and our teams.

‘Now how does it become our problem when the representative sent by the company comes here and just stays on?’ Faisal argues.

Meanwhile, sources said that PFF’s Director Marketing Sardar Naveed Haider Khan, who was initially responsible for inviting Nsibaba to Pakistan along with the deal with IPLG has flown to Malaysia till things settle down here.

Nsibaba’s Iranian wife came to Lahore to collect his body a few days ago, the sources added.