The League organisers are set to make a announcement on the ugly scenes which marred the playoff tie between Sai Masu Gida and the Flying Antelopes
The League Management Company (LMC) has stated that it is still comparing the notes of the match officials and others in connection with the Enugu Rangers and Kano Pillars fixture in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) Championship playoffs, which was marred by crowd violence on Monday.
The LMC opined that appropriate sanctions will be meted out to all those that directly or indirectly have a connection with the fracas at the Agege Stadium, Lagos shortly after the league encounter had ended in a 1-1 draw.
The matchday four Super Six game had ended peacefully, but fans allegedly loyal to Kano Pillars invaded the pitch at the end of game and hurled different types of objects towards the match officials and others in the stands.
The disgruntled fans are believed to have been protesting over the handling of the game by referee Adebimpe Quadri.
The problemw started when Quadri awarded a late penalty kick to the Flying Antelopes for the foul on Enugu Rangers’ Ifeanyi Egwin and a handball in the 18 yards box.
Rangers’ Godwin Aguda coolly slotted the spot kick in the 90th minute to cancel out the 58th-minute free-kick from Kano Pillars’ Rabiu Ali.
At the sound of the referee’s final whistle, Ali – who had earlier contested almost all of the referee’s calls which didn’t favour his team during the game – went straight to the referee and appeared to want to assault him, but he was repelled by some of his teammates who prevented him from getting closer to the official.
It was his continuous remonstration with the referee that irked the alleged Pillars fans, and they ran to the pitch in numbers in an attempt to accost the centre referee in solidarity with Ali, who they consider a cult hero.
The fans tore the dashboards at pitch-side into shreds and hurled them, and other objects, at the match officials and others in sight at the VIP section, and wanted to break through the barricade to gain entrance into the referees’ changing room.
The crowd was then overpowered by the security after some fans were injured.
A top official of the LMC, who craves anonymity, informed Tidesport source that the league body has begun an inquiry into the crowd violence and that the video and other evidence which could help the body in making an unbiased judgement are presently being studied, and that a pronouncement on it will be made very soon.
The official noted that Kano Pillars skipper Ali, and a few others in the club, have a case to answer for, but that they want to exhaust all the evidence before them before a decision is made to serve as a deterrent in future matches.
“We are going through the match report of all those that were involved in Monday’s game from the match commissioner to the referees and we are comparing that with the video footage available to us,” the official told Tidesports source.
‘I Can Discover Ballon d’Or Winners In Nigeria’
Ex-Nigeria international Usman Abdallah has declared that he can help the country groom future Ballon d’Or winners if he is handed the U20 job.
Abdallah, who led Enyimba to win the 2019 Nigeria Professional Football League and a Confederation Cup semi-final finish, is favourite to replace Paul Aigbogun for the Flying Eagles’ head coach role.
His outstanding CV features a Uefa A license, a degree in football coaching and team management (France) and a Strength and Conditioning level 1 coaching certificate in Australia.
According to reports, the Nigeria Football Federation will announce the Franco-Nigerian in the coming days, a claim the tactician is unsure of when quizzed by newsmen.
“Just like every other person, I applied for the job but I’m yet to get confirmation if I was picked or not.
“Nigeria is my country and it will be nice if I eventually get this role because it will be a big chance to serve. Also, I have what it takes to discover future Ballon d’Or winners for the country.
“Without sounding immodest, I strongly believe that I will excel in this position not only because of my wealth of experience but because of my closeness to grassroots football.
“As I have always said, this level deserves a lot of serious work because players picked at this level form a pivot of future Super Eagles,”he told newsmen.
After a failed expedition at the 2019 Fifa U20 World Cup in Poland, Nigeria will be hoping to qualify for Indonesia 2021 through the Africa U20 Cup of Nations scheduled for Mauritania.
Champions, Europa Leagues Finals Likely For August
The Champions League and Europa League look increasingly likely to be played exclusively in August after more talks about the remainder of the 2019-20 season on Wednesday.
Uefa told the 55 associations on Tuesday there was still the possibility of the competitions being played throughout June, July and August.
But Tidesports source understands that the latest discussions revolved almost exclusively around a plan to complete the domestic leagues by 31 July, with European competition following after that.
Nothing definitive has been agreed but Uefa is keen to leave all options on the table for as long as possible given the general uncertainty across Europe and in the knowledge there is no guarantee the season will be finished.
However, there is a view that travel restrictions are more likely to have eased in August, which would be necessary for a cross-border competition.
The scenario envisaged would be for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the respective European competitions to be played as two-legged ties between 11 and 22 August, although these could yet become one-off games.
In the plans now being discussed, there would be some flexibility for domestic fixtures to be played in August, should a July conclusion prove impossible.
The Premier League has nine rounds of fixtures remaining but in Spain and Italy, two countries that have been badly affected, there are still 11 and 12 rounds left respectively – although both have fewer cup games to fit into their schedules.
Uefa hopes the situation will become clearer in the next fortnight but completing the season in this way would cause the least disruption to its qualification competition for the 2020-21 season, which was supposed to start at the end of June but has been delayed indefinitely.
S’Eagles’ll Miss Mikel, Ighalo -Etebo
John Obi Mikel and Odion Ighalo would remain a big miss for Nigeria, concedes Oghenekaro Etebo, with the Super Eagles still coming to terms with their retirement.
After the Super Eagles clinched third-place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, the duo drew the curtains on their international careers.
Mikel, 32, was the first to bow out before Egypt 2019 top scorer Ighalo followed the path of the former Chelsea star.
Coach Gernot Rohr is prepared to put faith in the likes of Joe Aribo, Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen as replacements for the duo.
The Getafe man said it was clear that the three-time African kings would miss Mikel and Ighalo for their leadership attributes, but believes Osimhen can fill the vacuum left by the Manchester United striker.
“They are leaders who we are going to be missed in the dressing room,” he stated.
“Mikel was a leader; I recall how he helped us during the Olympics when we had issues during our preparations for the Games. Not because I played with him but for the impact he had on me as a player.
“They helped the team make vital decisions during tough times and I guess it was just time for them to move on.
“Ighalo on his part is a goal poacher that we also miss but thank God that we have another goal poacher in [Victor] Osimhen, but we have to be patient with him to settle in well into that role.”
After the coronavirus pandemic, Rohr is expected to begin life without the retired players as Nigeria would be hoping to qualify for the 2021 Afcon billed for Cameroon.
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