*as referee frustrates team at Lokoja
The match between Niger Tornadoes FC of Minna and Akwa United FC of Uyo may have come and gone. But the officiating by the centre Referee, Mr. Nura Abdullahi is what many supporters who were at the stadium still worried about.
The match which was one of the Match Day 14 fixtures of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), took place at Lokoja Confluence stadium, Kogi State, on Sunday 19, Match 2017.
The match which was controversial throughout from start to finish was marred by poor officiating and questionable decisions by the centre referee, Mr. Nura Abdullahi who hails from Zamfara State.
Abdullahi, who was all out to frustrate Akwa United, issued 4 yellow cards and 1 red card and also restricted any good move made by Akwa United especially towards the penalty area of the host team.
The referee further became funny when Niger Tornadoes player felled inside Akwa United box without any contact by Akwa United defender, Godspower Igudia who neatly cleared the ball out for a corner kick but the centre referee in his own wisdom and wicked decision decided to give a penalty against Akwa United and the opponent scored to lead Akwa United by 1-0 in the 28th minutes.
The situation became worst in the second half as Akwa United players were intimated by both the centre referee and his assistants Kabiru Haruna and Sanusi Mohammed all from Zamfara State.
Christian Pyagbara’s clear goal was disallowed in the 60th minutes which would have leveled the scores at 1-1, but the assistant referee flew his flag in the air, with an excuse that the goal was offside.
The centre referee however showed all the spectators who turned out en-mass that he was determined to frustrate Akwa United in the 75th minutes by wrongly expelling Ariwachukwu Emmanuel through a red card who did nothing, rather it was kodjoiv Dadzie that committed a foul at the sideline and Akwa United were reduced to ten men.
At the 90th minutes, the referee added just 1minutes after both teams had substituted 5 players ( three for Tornadoes and Two for Akwa United) including all the stoppages which some spectators got angry that the referee should have added at least 3 minutes.
Some of the spectators who spoke with THE INK, called on the League Management Committee (LMC) to review the match and investigate the match officials. The match ended 1-0 in favour of Niger Tornadoes.
Match statistics: Niger Tornadoes had 2 yellow cards; Chidebere Ajoku 87-mins and Mustapha Aliko-88 mins) while Akwa United had 4 yellow cards; Musa Newman-14 mins, Emmanuel Iwu-29 mins, Ariwachukwu Emmanuel-64 mins and Red card 75-mins as well as Aremu Afeez-85mins.
By Emmanuel Akpan