8 February 2007

Nigeria: Obafemi Escapes Airport Mob Attack

Lagos — Newcastle United striker Obafemi Martins on Tuesday night escaped a mob attack at the Muritala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos as a result of the Super Eagles scandalous 1-4 defeat by Ghana's Black Stars in an international friendly played at the Griffin Stadium Brentford, London.

Obafemi, who was about to board a British Airways flight back to his Newcastle base after a day visit to Nigeria to attend to his sick mum, was mobbed by aggrieved Nigerian fans at the departure hall who bombarded with questions on why he was not in the game. The match was barely 10 minutes into the second half when Obafemi strolled into the departure hall to board his flight.

A mild drama ensued when the soccer fans literally held Obafemi hostage demanding to know why he was not in London for the match.

The fans had argued that if the former Inter Milan striker had played the match, the Super Eagles would not have been disgraced.

As at the time the fans quizzed him, Nigeria were three goals down.

The visibly angry fans asked: "Why are you not playing? If you were there, you will have scored at least one goal by now and Ghana will not have that the courage to play us out"

Obafemi, who could not stomach the story of the defeat appealed to the fan to keep calm, pledging his commitment to the national team in the future.

He explained that he was in Lagos to attend to his sick mother and pleaded that the match should not be seen as the true test of the Super Eagles' strength.

"I would have loved to be with the rest of the team, but I have to attend to my sick mum. As you can see, I'm taking her to England for medical care. I'm sorry and hope to make up for my absence in subsequent matches for the national team" he pleaded.

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