Emem Eduok in action for Tunisian club Esperance
Tuesday Feb 02, 2016. 17:00
The agent of Emem Edouk has alleged the striker has come under heavy fire at Tunisian club Esperance after he refused to agree a loan move to Saudi club Al-Khaleej.
England-based agent Ojore Oka has maintained his player has not breached any code of conduct, but rather his problems started when he refused to sign on a loan move to Saudi Arabia.
“The fact of the matter is Esperance FC had intended to loan Emem Eduok to Al-Khaleej FC in Saudi Arabia during this January transfer window. They had accepted an offer from the Saudi club and asked Emem Eduok over to the club's office to sign the deal. But we rejected the offer as we felt playing in Saudi Arabia would not enhance his football in any way, shape or form, at least not at this time,” said Oka.
“Emem Eduok was 22 on the 31st January, 2016, and clearly this isn't the time for such a talented player to go to Saudi Arabia, when we have a number of suitors from the mainstream European leagues.
“So, we’re sure that some individuals who would have profited very handsomely from the Saudi club’s loan deal are unhappy with Emem Eduok.”
The agent claimed his client’s international passport has been withheld by Esperance and that stopped him from visiting his family in Nigeria recently.
"It is unfortunate that at this age and time, a club of Esperance stature and experience could resort to what I call ‘a form of modern-day slavery’,” he narrated.
“The fact of the matter is Emem Eduok wanted to travel to visit his family in Nigeria when the club was on official break for a week, but the club officials refused to release his international passport to him.
“Just for the records, the other Nigerian in the team, Bernard Bulbwa, was allowed to travel home.
“I thought this attitude was unprofessional and unusual. So, we wrote to the club to ask for an explanation, but didn’t get a response. After several unanswered phone calls, I finally got an official who informed me that his passport would be released to him on the 15th January.
“When this wasn’t going to happen, I traveled to Tunis to find out exactly what was happening. What I found out on getting to Tunis was very shocking and deplorable. Apparently, they had withheld his passport and stopped him from taking his week-long break to visit his family in Nigeria, so as not to jeopardise their plans to loaning Emem Eduok to a club in Saudi Arabia.
“So, when we went to the club’s office on the 15th of January to pick up Emem’s passport, they put an offer in front of us and asked that he signed it. In all my years of working in football, I’ve never seen a situation where a club transfers a player without informing him and allowing him to negotiate his personal terms.
“So, as I said earlier, we refused the offer outright.
“Yes, Emem Eduok, has a contract with Esperance, but he cannot be sold without our consent. This is indeed akin to human trafficking, and I cannot allow that under my watch.”
However, the agent said the striker will honour his contract at Esperance.
“Emem Eduok has a contract until 2018 and he loves the fans of Esperance FC very much. He would respect the terms of his contract to the minutest detail, every bit of it,” he said.
“Don’t forget, just last season he was tearing defences apart in Tunisia and the continent and scoring goals for fun; in fact he was highest goal-scorer for Esperance FC last season despite joining in the mid-season.
“So, inspite of the unprofessional ways he’s been treated and the fact that he’s owed a huge amount of his wages, he’s committed to seeing out his contract. Emem is a consummate professional and will always give his best whenever called upon.”
By Wale Olaniyan