Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Free for All As Osun Hold Enugu to Draw in Football

It was free for all on Tuesday after Team Osun held their Enugu State counterparts to a 1-1 draw in the football event of the ongoing 18th National Sports Festival.

Trouble started when at the end of the preliminary game, an Enugu State player went to register his displeasure about the officiating to the referee.

The players from Enugu state claimed they were intimidated by the match officials.

However, security men at the venue at Yaba College of Technology Pitch prevented him and his colleagues from having access to the referee.

But trouble worsened when the coach, players and fans of the Enugu State side allegedly beat up an unidentified lady whose was among the people jeering at them.

The development led others to retaliate before the situation was brought under control after the Osun team and the match officials were taken away to safety by policemen.

Meanwhile, about five players and the coach of the Enugu team, Benedict Ugwu, were taken to the Sabo Police Station, Yaba, for allegedly beating up the lady.

The coach of the Enugu team Ugwu told newsmen that a situation where players and their officials were not satisfied with the outcome of matches was not in the best of the festival.

He called for more objective assessment of matches by officials to engender credibility and growth of the round leather game.

"We suspected the antics of the referee from the beginning of the game.

"We earned a free kick that was not awarded and he went ahead to award a penalty to Osun which was uncalled for.

"The fans as you can see are not comfortable with what happened here today (Tuesday) and with things like this, football will never grow in this country," Ugwu said.

He regretted that the fight broke out and urged the organisers to ensure that officiating was fair to avoid such situations.

YABATECH had recorded similar troubles in the match between Gombe and Kwara and physically challenged athletes almost marred the game between Gombe and Osun football teams.

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