NPFL: Poor Officiating In Nigeria League

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Poor officiating is one of the problems confronting the ongoing Nigeria Professional Football League.

Despite relatively good pitches and live television broadcast, it is sad that Nigerian referees always compromise standards. That is why Nigerian referees are not considered good enough to take charge of proceedings on the global circuit.

In the past, insecurity was identified as the reason why Nigerian referees always favour the home team because they are the responsible for his upkeep. Appointments of officials are based on federal character principle not competence.

Many coaches in Nigerian club always express displeasure to poor officiating.

For instance, a league match between Enyimba Football Club of Aba and Shooting Stars of Ibadan in Aba Township Stadium in a Week 12 tie showed that the referee, Peter Shinyi from Abuja lost control of the game as he awarded an alleged dubious penalty to Enyimba to enable them clinch the three points at stake.

Shooting Stars’ Coach Hakeem Busari said he was bitter over the defeat.

“We played very well if not for the penalty, we would have taken a point away from this game,” Busari said shortly after the game.  Another show of shame played out at the Adamansingba Stadium, Ibadan when Gbolahan Salami was given the marching order for an unjust reason against Sunshine Football Club of Akure in a Week 10 tie. With the game being shown live across the globe on Digital Satellite television Station, Supersport, the centre referee from Kaduna State brought the game into disrepute.

Presently, The Nigeria League is characterised with poor officiating and insecurity.

Dolphins FC Coach, Stanley Eguma had harsh words for centre referee, Mommada Aminu from Zamfara State for handing Lobi Stars the maximum points when he allegedly awarded two alleged dubious penalties and unjustly sending off Coach Eguma to the dressing room in a Week 16 match played at the Kastina-Ala Stadium, Benue State.

After the match, Eguma expressed dismay that a match official like Aminu could descend so low to bring Nigeria’s topflight football to the mud despite the tiring efforts of the League Management Company LMC to improve the standard of the game.

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“I was sent off for no just cause. I was passing instructions to my players when I noticed the fourth official whispering to Aminu’s ear, the next thing I saw was him sending me to the dressing room,” he lamented.

Kano Pillars’ coach, Baba Mohammed Ganaru also blamed the match officials of the away tie with Enyimba for their loss in a Week 11 Nigeria Professional Football League NPFL tie in Aba.

“We lost to poor officiating. It was very glaring. I didn’t complain about officiating but this was too obvious,” Ganaru lamented.

In spite recording a 2-0 victory over Warri Wolves in a Week 16 NPFL tie played at the Uyo Township Stadium, Akwa United fans allegedly physically assaulted the centre referee, Henry Ogunyamodi from Ondo State in the dressing room. The sudden attack prevented Ogunyamodi to continue the second half of the game.

Alhaji Musa Talle, Chairman, FCT Football Association bemoaned the poor level of officiating in the league.

Talle expressed thus: “I am very much aggrieved and want to call on the relevant league bodies to ensure that our teams are well protected in all their away matches. This is because we have ensured that no visiting team is harassed here in Abuja’’,

Nigerian referees have called on the various clubs in the NPFL to appeal to their fans to desist from assaulting referees, assign to league matches.

Henry Ochei, a football referee, called on clubs to tutor their fans, to behave themselves during league matches.

“There is always the belief that home matches are to be won at all costs, and when it does not turn out that way, home team fans become aggressive. Such a mindset should be discouraged by clubs,” Ochei said.

—Sunday Akintoye

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