14 June 2021
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Violence once again rocked the Nigeria Professional Football League after fans encroached the pitch and disrupted the tie between Kano Pillars and Akwa United at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna on Sunday.
Kano Pillars and their fans defied the directive of the Nigeria Football Federation to clubs at home not to allow fans into match venues following the directive of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
Pandemonium started in the 87th minute when Nyima Nwagua’s effort was flagged off for offside by assistant referee Abdul Rasheed from Kwara, and upheld by centre referee from Lagos, Adebimpe Quadri.
Fans, who also defied COVID-19 protocols, immediately encroached the pitch, disrupted the match and chased the assistant referee around the pitch, while an Akwa United player was allegedly slapped by a fan.
The match, which was suspended by the League Management Company, will now hold 8am on Monday (today).
“Kano Pillars vs Akwa United to continue tomorrow at 8am after being interrupted,” the league body tweeted.
An Akwa United player, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, “I don’t know what would have happened if the match had ended without Pillars winning the game, there would have been blood everywhere.
“I honestly think the League Management Company is at fault, they can’t in all honesty say they don’t know that fans in Kaduna came out in their numbers to watch matches and this will continue if they don’t punish them adequately,” he added.
In a video obtained by our correspondent, Super Eagles captain and Pillars forward Ahmed Musa was seen appealing to the irate fans for calm, which fell on deaf ears.
According to Akwa United’s media officer, Mfon Patrick, it was Pillars players who shielded them as they left the stadium and moved into their team bus at about 6:30pm on Sunday.
“We were escorted out of the pitch by a few Pillars players to our team bus, but the crowd outside refused us passage out of the stadium just as the Pillars team bus drove out.”
Players and officials of the visiting team were only able to leave the match venue at about 6:55pm after being escorted out by two vans of police officers.
Pillars will lose the three points for allowing fans into the match venue, while the match commissioner also faces a sanction for allowing the match go on despite the presence of fans.
The incident occurred a week after fans also disrupted a Nigeria National League match between Remo Stars and Edo Insurance in Ikenne, Ogun State with six players and and official of Insurance suffering varying degrees of injuries