Monday, January 11, 2010

Lobi Stars’ Fans Attack Assistant Ref

Hell was let loose at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi over the weekend when fans of Lobi Stars manhandled one of the assistant referees, Mike Ushie, after its 1 – 1 draw at home to Heartland Football Club of Owerri.
Before last weekend’s draw at home, Lobi Stars had been on a poor run of form failing to win its last three games against Gombe United, Sharks Football Club and Zamfara United in the month of December.
In an ill-tempered match at the Aper Aku on Sunday, Musa Bello Kofarmata, who had completed a move to Heartland, opened score just 35 minutes into the encounter to set the home fans on the edge.
The first half of the encounter would have been worse for Lobi Stars since the Naze Millionaires dominated for longer spell to the frustration of the home side.
But 13 minutes into the restart, Lobi Stars leveled the game at 1 – 1 through Son Hingir.
In the first half, understands that the game was reportedly halted due to crowd disturbance. It is believed that the crowd was angry with the officiating in spite of its side constantly remaining in the shadows of the 2009 CAF Champions League finalist, Heartland.
Immediate the game resumes after the interlude from crowd unrest, Kofarmata put the visiting side in front.
However, trouble broke out at the stadium in Makurdi after the match when irate fans apparent angry over the 1 – 1 draw of its team pounced on Ushie and gave him the beating of his life.
As at the time of writing this report, the condition of the assistant referee could not be ascertained though he was said to have been rushed to a private hospital in Makurdi.
This is the second time that a match official would be attacked since the start of the 2009/2010 season.
Just last week, the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) had sanctioned Warri Wolves after its fans attacked the centre referee and first assistant referee, Barnabas Shamang and Aundugh Robert during the game with Enyimba at the Oleh Township Stadium.
Wolves lost that game to Enymba by a lone goal on December 20, 2009 and was subsequently ordered to play its home games behind closed door and pay the fine of N1 million before January 17’s game against Sunshine Stars.
It is likely that Lobi Stars could face the wrath of the Premier League board just one week after it warned that stricter measures would be taken against clubs, whose fans assault match officials at venues of the top-flight.

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