The steps taken by Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) club, Enyimba over the ban handed to their captain, Austin Oladapo, has yielded fruit.
Ripples Nigeria had earlier reported that Oladapo, a midfielder at the Aba club, was handed a one-year ban by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in May after he tested positive for a prohibited steroid, Prenisolone.
The club in July set out to contest the ruling by the continental football body, insisting that their player was “too professional” to do drugs.
Now, CAF Appeals Committee has halved the twelve months ban on the midfielder.
The initial ban meant that the Enyimba captain would stay away from all football related activities until July 2022, but following an appeal, the midfielder has now been cleared to return on January 5.
Oladapo had maintained that any trace of the substances found in his sample would have been from anti-Covid19 medications he was taking at the time.
“The Board has decided to reduce the sanction of player Oladapo Augustine from one year to six (6) months. Therefore the player Oladapo Augustine is suspended from taking part in any football related activities until 4th January 2022,” a statement from the CAF Appeals Committee read.
The ban became necessary after Oladapo’s urine sample, taken after the CAF Confederation Cup quarter-final first leg against Pyramids FC on May 16, 2021, tested positive for the banned substance.
But Enyimba stood behind their captain, saying Oladapo was a disciplined athlete who became worthy of the captain band due to his professionalism and could not have intentionally taken the said drug.
Oladapo scored four goals in Enyimba’s campaign in the CAF Club Competitions last season.