Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Dolphins, Pillars at crossroads

Nigeria Premier League (NPL) champions, Dolphins and Kano Pillars are locked in a off-the-field tussle over alleged threat from an official of the latter.

Kano Pillars lost 0-1 at Dolphins in a Week 18 game on Sunday leaving the away team livid over the eight minutes of added time from centre referee, Henry Ogunyamodi.

The game between Dolphins and Kano Pillars was goalless until the 98th minute when Emem Eduok scored the winner for the hosts.

Kano Pillars protested the eight minutes of added time but officials of Dolphins believe the referees were spot on as there were two major injuries in the second half and added time.

Dolphins’ goalkeeper, Austin Brown was down for about five minutes while in added time, Kano Pillars' goalkeeper, Theophilus Afelokhai stayed down for three minutes.

But Dolphins have now raised concerns over an alleged statement credited to an official of Kano Pillars, Kabiru Baleria after the game that the champions should stay away from Kano or come under the attack of the deadly sect, Boko Haram.

“It was an irresponsible statement to make but we are not taking it lightly. I agree it was said in the heat of the moment and they felt aggrieved conceding a goal at the death but people should watch what they say.

“In the last two years we have had people killed, churches blown up and more threats made by the terrorist group, Boko Haram and if a person like Kabiru Baleria who played football to the top level in his days can make a statement like that he must be called in by the security agencies for questioning because he must have a link with them,” spokesman of Dolphins, China Acheru said.

Acheru named three Port Harcourt-based journalists, Florence Israel of Sporting Life, Carl Orakwue of Cool/ Wazobia FM and Nduka Orjinmo as direct witnesses who heard Baleria say: “Walahi if you people come to Kano we will use Boko Haram to blow you up. Don’t even bother coming. We will use them to kill you.”

Dolphins now want the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) and the nation's security agencies to look into the alleged threats made by Baleria in Port Harcourt on Sunday.

Secretary of Dolphins, Ahmed Abdulrahman told that they will make an official complaint to the NPL about alleged threat from Baleria.

"We will make our complaint to the NPL about this matter," Abdulrahman said.

Kano Pillars' spokesman, Idris Malikawa has defended that the club have never indulged in threatening their opponents.

He added that Dolphins should consult with their sister club, Sharks to ascertain "the kind of treatment they got in Kano" earlier this season.

"Kano Pillars is not a club associated with violence. As a club we will not go to that length to make threatening remarks or carry out attacks on our opponents. Sharks, another Port Harcourt club came to Kano earlier this season and nobody attacked or did anything untoward to them. Dolphins need to talk to the Sharks people on the kind of treatment they got in Kano.

"So why would we want to use dangerous means to undo Dolphins? We at Kano Pillars do not regard football as a do-or-die affair all in the name of winning three points. Instead football is a tool that unifies the nation and I don't think Dolphins' allegation is good for the game," Malikawa told

NPL Acting Secretary, Tunji Babalola is unhappy that the issue has taken front burner in the media. He said the Premier League is yet to get an official complaint from the champions.

"Dolphins should have written officially (to the NPL) and if they say they have done so I'm yet to see it. The truth is this matter will be best resolved without making so much noise about it in the media because it is still an allegation," Babalola remarked.

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