For the umpteenth time, fans have once again taken laws into their hands as they unleashed terror on Enyimba players and officials on Sunday.
The two-time African champions were held to a goalless draw by hosts, Wikki Tourists in the Match Day 19 of the 2021/22 Nigeria Professional Football League season.
It was learnt that trouble started after the centre referee, who was identified simply as Mr Akanji, allegedly blew the final whistle two minutes from regulation time, despite the time-wasting antics of the visitors.
According to a statement from Wikki Tourists made available to our correspondent, the Bauchi club, which did not mention the attack on Enyimba, said fans became apprehensive following the ref’s action.
The statement read, “Eighty-eight minutes into the game, two minutes away from regulation time to end the game, the referee Mr Akanji blew the last whistle, signaling the end of the game. No consideration for additional time despite the eight minutes wasted by the Enyimba goalkeeper.
“His action confused the entire stadium and people were asking themselves questions on the decision of the referee to end the match that way, which led to the unfortunate incident that followed later.
We want to put it on record that Remo Stars FC came to Bauchi this season and beat Wikki Tourists 2-1 and nothing happened. Also, Enyimba defeated Wikki Tourists last Season 2-1 and there was no problem because the match officials handled the games professionally.
“In as much as we don’t condone or support unruly behaviour by fans, we also believe that good officiating of matches can be a panacea to the growth and development of our league which by extension can address the issue of negative behaviours of fans at match venues.
League Management Company boss Shehu Dikko, while acknowledging what happened in Bauchi, described Bauchi as “war zone” on WhatsApp platform FCT Sports Update.
“War zone in Bauchi, the match officials made a blunder by not giving added time to the normal 90mins,” Dikko posted on the platform, but deleted the message immediately.