23 September 2003

Nigeria: Coca-Cola FA Cup: Pillars Blames Police

Lagos — The management of Kano Pillars FC is holding security operatives responsible for helping to stalemate their Coca-Cola FA Cup semi final encounter against Sharks of Port Harcourt in Jos.

Police men fired several canisters of tear gas to disperse aggrieved fans with barely four minutes left of the semi final encounter which had Sharks leading by a lone goal scored in the 25th minute by Belema Fenibo.

Pillars chairman Sani Usman in a chat with www.kickoffnigeria.com disclosed that no fewer than five of his players were rushed to the hospital because of the tear gas.

"The situation is bad and I blame the police for their overzealousness in firing tear gas to the crowd. Some of my players are asthmatic and the police gas affected them, so they were taken to the hospital for treatment."

The replayed tie was disrupted in the 85th minute when irate fans, sensing that the match might end in favour of Sharks started throwing stones and other objects into the field of play while the police in their efforts to put things under control fired tear gas to the crowd.

After the situation was put under control, referee, James Odeniran called for the game to resume, but Pillars could not continue on the excuse that they could not produce the mandatory seven players as the rest had been taken to the hospital for medical attention.

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