Two weeks ago, Nigerian
football twitter almost crashed when someone came up with a story
that was as bizarre as it got.
After
the rescheduled league game between Gombe United and Enugu Rangers,
the official fan twitter of Rangers,
@Rangers12th man claimed
the referee received a phone call while there on the pitch.
As
is usual with the Nigerian band wagon effect, it became a trending
topic on twitter as people just retweeted, made snide comments, with
very few asking any
intelligent questions.
The
tweet went thus- This is another first the centre
referee of the #GOMRAN answers his phone while the match is still on,
we wonder who called him @LMCNPFL
Two weeks after that tweet
there has been no single piece of ocular evidence that it happened.
This is 2017 and in a stadium
that had at least ten thousand people, not one got that “Kodak
moment” with the referee receiving a phone call while the game was
on?
The questions I have asked-
did he have the phone in his pocket all along? Then when it rang, how
did he stop the game and take the call?
Maybe, the 4th
official received the call on his behalf, gave a signal then he went
to the touch line to take the call?
Or maybe a fan or club
official just ran down from the terraces, mobile phone in hand,
waving frantically at the referee to stop the game and speak to
whoever was on the other side?
In the Nigerian League, club
officials and fans have been known to concoct stories to justify a
loss or poor performance. I have listed a few notable ones here

 

Dem carry referee come
which means the referee was on the pay roll of the other club.
Linesman just draw line
for center of field
– which means every time they attack, the
flag went up for offside and their attackers couldn’t go past a
particular invisible horizontal line.
Referee tell our boys
inside field say we go lose
– the referee’s mind was already
made up from the start that we would lose and he made it known to the
players verbally.
Our
defender head ball, referee give penalty-
It
was a simple
header
out of the box and the referee called a penalty for handball
Attacker
fall by himself and ref give penalty-
The
attacker was standing on his own and fell without any contact since
there was no one close to him yet the referee gave a penalty.
And
perhaps the most ridiculous one ever that the teller needs to be
mauled is for
telling is –
Foul wey happen for center, referee carry am go
penalty-
The
referee gave a penalty for a foul at the center circle.
Now I have heard this one time
without number and the sincere look on the face of the teller of this
particular tale is what kills me.
There are many such tales,
even more ridiculous ones that fans and clubs officials tell,
especially in games not live on television that the hapless and
gullible public feed on.
It is a shame that the
formerly respected Rangers fan twitter went down that road and even
bigger shame that Nigerian football twitter swallowed it hook, line
and sinker.
Two weeks after that incident
there is no photo of the event…
And if this means anything,
the same Rangers fan twitter said there were thirteen minutes of
added time in that game only to recant after it had been called out
by another twitter user, @FisayoDairo.
Rangers 12th man
then claimed it was auto correct failure on his smart phone and it
was really 8 minutes added and not 12. Let this sink in.
Mauling
your very own
The reports from the same game
between Gombe United and Rangers, were to say the least, shocking and
disgraceful.
At least this time we saw
pictures and a video of the goalkeeper of the home side, Gombe
United, Niyi Fabiyi mauled by fans of his own club like a herd of
leopards devouring an antelope.
What was his sin? They say he
threw the game.
Nigeria is a very funny,
amusing and sometimes downright annoying country with very funny,
amusing and downright annoying people too.
By the time the home club
released a statement as regards the fans’ violence on the day,
their own fans, the narrative was changed to the fact that the
goalkeeper was a compulsive gambler and he probably threw the game
because he had placed a bet on it.
That was the most shameless
thing I had ever heard or read in my football life that came out of
Gombe United.
And as is usual with the
Nigerian bandwagon mentality, the narrative left the violence to the
fact that the team had a gambler of a goalkeeper who bet on his own
game (that incidentally was not on any bet slip).
As has happened in Nigeria for
the past forty years, the fans who meted out that violent act on the
Gombe United goalkeeper will go scot-free and will be in the stadium
for their next home game, probably boasting about what they did.
Why does it seem there is a
kind of immunity within the walls of a Nigerian stadium?
Commit a crime on the streets
and you go in for assault or what ever crime you engaged in but do
the same within a stadium and after one week of the issue trending on
social media, every one returns to Status quo ante?
It seems to me that the last
has been heard of the attempted murder of the Gombe United
goalkeeper, Niyi Fabiyi.
It is just a crying shame that
the Nigerian players’ Union (I do not know what name they go by
these days) have not gone to court against Gombe United.
While we bury our heads in the
sand, I remember the words of my great ancestor, Akakpo, “The
monkey that laughs and claps as the trees in the Forest are being cut
down will only go home to find out his house now lies on the ground.”
Next week, there will surely
be something to discuss about Nigerian football.

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