Pitch Invasion, Poor Medals Presentation Mars AITEO Cup Final
Not many Nigerians are interested in watching the local football league nay any other domestic football competition. However, the intrigue that greeted the final of the 2018 AITEO Cup between Kano Pillars and Rangers International of Enugu at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State, prompted football fans to fall in love with the indigenous tournament again.
It was as if the Kano team was in the competition to take home the trophy from the way they approached the match.
They dominated every department of the game and went ahead 2-0 by the end of the first half. They added the third in the second half.
The coast was clear for the Kano team to cart home the coveted trophy for the first time as camera was intermittently capturing the fans of Kano celebrating before the final whistle.
But the substitutions by Coach Gbenga Ogunbote of Rangers turned the tide for the Enugu side, 20 minutes to the end of the encounter, three goals were pumped into Pillars net to end the game 3-3 at full time. Rangers eventually won 4-2 via penalties to end its long wait for title since 1983.
However, the good show became sour when fans invaded the pitch at the end of the encounter and this became one of the low points of this year’s tournament; a scene that would have been prevented by the organizers.
For several minutes, appeals were made to the fans to leave the pitch for the final presentation to take place. Even when the guest artiste, Simisola was entertaining the fans, she was hurriedly urged to leave the stage. It was another eye-sour to behold.
The organization of the medals presentation conducted by the dignitaries was not a delight to behold on international television and this again has brought to fore the ineptitude of those in charge of football in the country.
The AITEO Cup formerly known as the FA Cup has been a tournament that has been accompanied with grandeur and glamour but the 2018 edition of the competition has not been impressive from the start particularly staging the final of such even on a week day in a venue not synonymous with football.