5 December 2012

Nigeria: Football - Violence Everywhere!

For the second day running, violence has been ruling the football events of the ongoing 18th National Sports Festival.

After Gombe and Kwara ended their game in fracas at the Yaba College of Technology Sports Complex on Monday after, it was the turn of Osun and Enugu to re-enact the show of shame Tuesday. The match was stalemated at 1-1 in the preliminary round of the male football event.

Trouble started Tuesday when an Enugu State player went to register his displeasure over the officiating to the referee.

Enugu Players claimed they were intimidated by the match officials.

However, security men at the venue at Yaba College of Technology Pitch prevented the player 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.

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.

Another game that was also marred with violence was the one between Gombe and Osun at the same venue.

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