The Nigerian football year started in January, naturally with the kick-off of the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL.
Watchers of the Nigerian League had waited so long for it to begin especially after the way the previous one ended.
Yes, the previous season ended on Match Day 24 and Lobi Stars FC were declared winners of the league even with fourteen full games left to play.
How the other clubs agreed to that remains a mystery.
You would understand the likes Go Round FC, Heartland and maybe Nasarawa United agreeing because they either in, or close to the relegation zone, but how did clubs like Enyimba, Akwa United and Kano Pillars agree to it?
Well, that is a matter for another day as we are talking review of the year 2019 and the month of January
Stadium fights and beaten up referees
Match Day 1 of the Nigeria Professional Football League saw a stadium fight in Jos after Plateau United failed to beat FC Ifeanyi Ubah.
The fans of the home team were not happy that their side did not win its first home game of the season and they probably thought the man to blame was the referee for not, somehow, helping them to win the game. Wow!
Matchday 2 was not different as it happened at Remo Stars, a club owned by Kunle Soname, who also owns arguably Nigeria’s biggest betting company, Bet9Ja and a club in Portugal.
Now there were different reports. Were the referees beaten? Did the fans just attempt to beat them?
What we do know is that a statement made to the media after the game by the club owner did not exactly cover him in glory.
Owner of Remo Stars, Kunle Soname in all his glory
He acted as though the fans may have been right to do what they did, even though not exactly spelling it out that way.
Tobi Adepoju is a Nigerian football writer who told NigerianFootballer.com that the start of the season in January was not a good one.
“The NPFL season started with ugly incidents. The rush of blood from the clubs and administrators were not good for the start of a new season,” Adepoju said.
However, the way the League Management Company, LMC handled the initial issues gave him more confidence in the system.
“I think LMC was able to handle the situation with sanctions, especially with the suspension of Remo Stars President which was the biggest punishment last season for me,” Tobi added.
He continued that asides the initial troubles in the league, there were a lot of positives in the course of the season.
“I think the season had a lot of positives as well. The goals race between Mfon Udoh and Sanusi Ibrahim, the battle for the Championship Tickets and the dramatic relegation of El-Kanemi Warriors that started the season with an away win at Akwa United were the exciting moments in the season,” Adepoju told NigerianFootballer.com.
Review of the football year continues on Tuesday with the month of February.