NNL Final Day: Yarmalight, Kogi United Game Inconclusive Over Referee’s High Handedness
The Nigeria National League, NNL final day fixture between FC Yarmalight and Kogi United played in Gombe on Saturday was inconclusive.
The match which took place at the Pantami Stadium, Gombe was marred by many irregularities on the part of the match officials.
Two red cards and three penalties – all against Kogi United – were awarded in the match.
The encounter which was played into over an hour in the second half saw the hosts leading 3-0 before Kogi United’s substitute keeper Shola Sheshere couldn’t continue after his side had completed their substitutions.
Kogi United started the game brightly and could have taken the lead in the first minute but John Jerome’s half volley hit the upright after beaten his marker.
Kogi United’s goalkeeper, Ogundare Detan made a smart save to parry down Ahmed Yushau’s effort before Simon Timothy who made the final clearance.
Yarmalight were awarded the first penalty of the game in the 21 minutes when Eghe Osas was adjudged to have fouled an opponent while clearing a dangerous cross into United’s goal area. Seidu Abdulrahman converted the resultant spot kick to give the Yarmalight the lead.
United had a chance to level up the scoreline moments later but Timothy had his tamed shot gathered by Yarmalight keeper Mohammed Mubarak.
Detan was called to action on the stroke of half an hour when dived well to parry Idris Bakare’s curling shot to corner.
The last two opportunities of the first half were for Kogi United and Yarmalight keeper Mubarak did well to keep the scoreline to his side’s favor.
The resumption of the game was more of a one sided for the hosts as they were being aided by match officials led by Centre Referee Nelson Andrew from Taraba State.
United’s right back, Abubakar Danlami was set off within three minutes of restart after blocking a shooting attempt at the edge of United’s box. Yushau shoot wide the resultant free kick.
Detan made a one on one save as he denied Bakare scoring opportunity.
The United’s goal tender would soon be sent off for two quick yellow cards after calling for more protection from the CR. United would have to sacrifice Osas for Shola Sheshere to replace Detan in goal. And the big size keeper was tremendous from the moment he came with series of heroic saves.
But the match officials were undone with their desperation to assist Yarmalight get more goals to escape the drop as CR Andrew pointed to spot when Abubakar Tenimu picked delivery in United’s box, outpaced his marker and cleared to space. United’s protest could not stand as the referee stood by his decision.
Seidu again converted and doubled the lead for the hosts with three minutes to end the game.
After playing hundred minutes and Yarmalight couldn’t find a way through, referee Andrew again pointed to the spot for another penalty.
Seidu took the spot kick and hit the upright before Tenimu cleared, but referee ordered for a replay for his reasons best known to him and his assistants.
Seidu would then got his spot right with the retake to make it three nil for Yarmalight against nine men Kogi United.
Idris Bakare who was in an offside position stamped on Sheshere as he attempt to poke home a cross.
The United’s keeper suffered a terrible knee injury from the challenge and while the medical team were working on him to continue the game, the match officials surprisingly left the two teams on the field and walked to the dressing room to undress making the close to two hours’ game inconclusive.
Chairman of Kogi United, Abdul Sule who described the match officials’ attitude as embarrassing to Nigerian football has called on the league body and relevant authorities to investigate the match which was played for over hundred minutes and also charge the match officials for bringing the game to disrepute all in a bid to aid Yarmalight to win the match with more goal margins to beat the drop.
“Its so unfortunate this embarrassing incident is happening at this level of Nigeria football, its a big shame that a league match could be played for close to two hours just because a team must win at all cost.
“We hope what happened will be reported as they were and the league body with those in charge of Nigerian football will act appropriately,” he said.