Nigeria Premier League crises deepens

Nigeria Premier League players

Heartland FC of Owerri abandoned the match, about 15mins into the second half, citing bad officiating.

Tunde Eludini

The Nigeria Premier League (NPL) was again thrown into fresh controversy, as the week 29 rescheduled match, between Kaduna United and Heartland FC, ended abruptly Friday evening.

The match, which had been postponed on several occasions, for different reasons, finally got underway at the Kaduna Township Stadium. The game failed to last the regular 90 minutes duration, as a protest by the visiting Heartland team forced the center referee to call off the game; with over 30minutes left to be played.

According to sources present at the stadium, the game was called off in the 62nd minute as Heartland players protested after the centre referee gave a sign for what was dubbed a controversial corner kick.

The Naze Millionaires, who were already 2-0 behind, courtesy of goals off the boots of Kaduna United duo: Oliver Nsidibe and Anthony Michael, had at different times of the bad-blooded encounter complained about what they described as questionable officiating geared at helping the home team.

Counter allegations

While Heartland players and officials maintained that their protest and subsequent walkout was because of the unfair officiating, the home team through its media officer, Abdulrahman Togna, claimed their opponents were just afraid of being pummeled after seeing themselves go two goals down before the hour mark.

“I think they were just afraid of us. That was why they were looking for excuse, we were leading them as you know ,”Tonga said.

According to Tonga, the center referee was on top of the game, and it was wrong for Heartland players to feel they know better than the man saddled with the job of administering the match.

Presently it is not clear what the decision of the NPL Management will be on the abandoned match; as a top official at the NPL secretariat told it will have to wait for the Match Commissioner’s report before any position can be taken.

“Right now, there is very little I can say, we have to wait for the match commissioner’s report before we can take any decision, the mach commissioner is our eyes at the match venue any other report is just hear say,” the top official offered.

Meanwhile, Kaduna United is sure of escaping relegation if they get all three points from the Heartland fixture.


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