Ultimatums, suspensions and 9 match days of the Nigerian League

Ajayi Junior (Shooting) v Godwin Aguda (Rangers) via LMC media
It is not the Nigerian league if there is no drama and drama punched us in the face after match day 9 of the league.

People wonder why a school of thought argue that we have the best league in the continent and some drunken people like myself will even say the world.

Well, maybe not the best, but the most exciting… semantics? The choice is yours

Abia Warriors just like their neighbours Heartland did the most intelligent deed after match day 9 and that was to issue an ultimatum to its players and coaches because of what they termed, “poor performance”

They have been told to win their next three matches or be placed on half salary and this is coming from the chairman of the club, Emeka Inyama, a former journalist who in time past criticized moves like this.

According to the press release from the club’s media officer, Igwe Onuoha, this ultimatum was coming on the heels of the Warriors’ second home loss of the season as champions, Kano Pillars won 1-0 in Umuahia at the weekend.

He says there was an emergency meeting at the club’s secretariat after which the chairman, himself, Emeka Inyama said Abia Warriors have no reason not to do well since the welfare of the players and officials have been properly taken care of.

“As we speak, we are not owing any of you. Your salary has been paid regularly so you don’t have any reason not to perform well”, an obviously disappointed Inyama told the technical crew.

Now this is where I fault Inyama and most of those that run football in this country.

In what world does prompt payment of salary ensure you must win the league? In what world is it wrong to lose twice at home, but we celebrate when we win away from home?

Last time I checked, Queen’s Park Rangers and Burnley do not owe salaries but I see where they are on the table in England.



Then again, I do not know what the contracts of the players and coaches say… does it mention half salary if results do not go the way the club wants?

I’m sure all players and coaches signed contracts, with coach, Ladan Bosso’s the most publicized of them. What do these contracts say?

Two weeks earlier, Heartland FC had given an ultimatum to ifs coach, Erasmus Onuh to grab ten points from five games or be sacked.

This happened because they lost a 2nd home game. Before now, Heartland won twice on the road and were only two points behind the top team at the time, yet an ultimatum.


LMC wants three Referees, Six assistants Investigated
Pic by LMC media

Just as we were trying to chew on the ultimatum issue, the League Management Company, LMC, the body charged with running the Nigerian league lodged a complaint with the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF Referees committee, protesting against a couple of arbiters in the league.

The complaint was against three center referees and three assistants for poor officiating in some of the Match Day 9 fixtures played on Sunday, May 17.

The LMC asked the Referees Committee to have the officials stepped down from further games should they have been appointed pending the outcome of investigations. The match officials are facing allegations of poor officiating, questionable calls and lack of diligence.

Center Referee Henry Ogunyamodi of Ondo State and his assistants are being investigated for the match in Nnewi between hosts Gabros International and Sharks of Port Harcourt. The assistant referees are O. O Awosakin of ondo and Justin Takyun of Nasarawa

Also to be investigated are the Referees that handled the Wikki Tourists versus Lobi Stars match in Bauchi. They are Center Referee Ahmed Dan Zaria from Kaduna State and his assistants Alfa Abdulganiyu from Jigawa and Muktar Ismail from Kano State.

The other match under investigation is the fixture in Lafia between Nasarawa United and Sunshine Stars which had Patrick Nworie from Enugu as Center Referee and Iriabor A of Ebonyi and Ubani Andy from Imo as assistants.

Now I have no issues over this because this is the right way to go. After they have been investigated, they should be moved to the NNL until they are deemed fit enough to return to the top division.

I think this is due process and can push our league in the right direction.

If the LMC is consistent in these checks and balances, things will change in the league for the better.

I wrote on this blog some time ago that taking referees to London is not the issue. That rather seems like playing to the gallery.

Nigerian referees have always known the laws of the game and perform well in CAF Confederation Cup and Champions League games.

The problem has always been the bad/ corrupt referees who must be shipped out; the lack of security at stadia that causes referees to bend the rules which must be sorted out; and the corrupt club officials who induce the referees then set a mob on them if they refuse their advances.

However, kudos to the League for calling out the poor referees.

Match Day 9 results

Heartland 2-0 Akwa United

Dolphins 1-2 Enyimba International

Abia Warriors 0-1 Kano Pillars

Wikki Tourists 1-0 Lobi Stars

El-Kanemi 1-0 Bayelsa United

Gabros International 1-0 Sharks

Shooting Stars 1-1 Rangers

Nasarawa United 1-1 Sunshine Stars

Giwa FC 0-0 FC Taraba

From match day 8 results, clearly Enyimba have shown they are the better side than Dolphins. This is their 2nd win in Port Harcourt in 12 years.

In 2003 it was a 3-0 win and last Sunday, Enyimba won 2-1 in Port Harcourt. The last time Dolphins beat Enyimba was in 2011.

Kano Pillars also showed they can win away from home. The team has taken a lot of flak over its supposed poor away form this win in Umuahia may just be one of a couple this season.

Heartland grabbed a win at home, so they have 7 points left to claim from their nest three games.

I sincerely do not think they will make it.

NPFL TOP SCORERS

5 GOALS

Ibrahim Shuaibu (Giwa FC)
Tunde Adeniji (Sunshine Stars)

4 GOALS

Mfon Udoh (Enyimba)
Bright Ejike (Heartland)
Mohammed Usman (FC Taraba)
Chisom Chikatara (Abia Warriors)
Esosa Igbinoba (Nasarawa United)

3 GOALS

Victor Yakubu (Wikki Tourists)
Segun Alebiosu (Kwara United)
Ubong Ekpai (Kano Pillars)
Mubarak Umar (Wikki Tourists)
Ugochukwu Leonard (Nasarawa United)
Okereke Maduabuchi (Gabros FC)
Ifeanyi Onyeali (Abia Warriors)

Onoriode M. Odah (Rangers)
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