Monday, January 17, 2011

Poor officiating, brawl highlight Nigerian games

Sunday’s Week 12 games were a combination of poor officiating by match arbiters, three red cards and a wrestling bout in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL).
In Aba, centre referee from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Adamu Gambo, contrived to give 11 minutes of added time in the game between titleholders, Enyimba and Warri Wolves to the shock of the travelling contingent and journalists except the home fans.
Spokesman of Warri Wolves, Timi Ebikagboro, told that the officiating from Gambo and his assistants, Alfred Saiki from Kano and Aliyu Abdullahi from Kaduna, was one of the worse he has seen in recent times in Nigeria’s topflight.
“Almost every major call that the referee made was against Warri Wolves,” complained Ebikagboro. “At almost every instance we made an attacking attempt, our team was flagged offside and so the boys resorted to taking shots from long distance. At the end he added 10 minutes for a game that witnessed very little stoppage.”
The game in Aba was seven minutes past regulation time before the fourth official, M. Ogunta from Abia, signalled for four minutes to be added.
But Paul Aigbogun’s men held on for a point leaving the Peoples Elephant with their first draw at home.
In Kano, Zamfara United in spite of grabbing their third win of the campaign had midfielder Usman Mohammed sent off by referee Benjamin Ode from the FCT, Abuja for a two-footed tackle on 44 minutes against Crown Football Club.
But Crown, on the other hand, failed to make good use of playing against 10-men, as striker Bode Daniel missed a spot kick saved by Zamfara United goalie, Olabisi Adewunmi.
However, the game in Ijebu-Ode earlier tipped as one of the star games for Sunday turned out to be a brawl between players of Sunshine Stars and Heartland, as the centre referee, Friday Awogo from the FCT, Abuja, could not stamp his authority on the game.
Heartland skipper, Chinedu Efugh, simply told “The ref messed up the game.”
Trouble started in Ijebu-Ode the moment Joshua Obaje cancelled Ibrahim Ajani’s 11th minute strike with fans of Sunshine Stars screaming from the stands with threatening words at the match officials.
Some journalists were also harassed in the heat of the troubled at the Gateway International Stadium in Ijebu-Ode.
The game at the MIKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta witnessed another ugly incident, as Rapheal Musa became the second Shooting Stars’ player to be sent off this season.
Musa was shown the marching order by referee Godwin Ubosi from Enugu for retaliating against Kaduna United's Anthony Michael in the 74th minute.
Another drama followed few minutes later when Kaduna United’s Nelson Nimyel was sent off for aiming a punch at Akindele Toluwase.
In the face of the mixed drama in the Week 12 games, Dolphins remain top and two points clear of the chasing pack.

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