NPFL: Edo Deputy Gov rescues ref from angry fans

The timely intervention of the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, saved referee Abdullahi Shuabu from being attacked by angry Benin fans, who were mad at the official for disallowing a Bendel Insurance goal in added time, in their NPFL Match Day 10 clash against Rivers United at the Universiry of Benin sports complex.

The home team took the lead in the 12th minute through Ugwu Michael before Rivers United’s Ossy Martins grabbed an equaliser in the 49th minute to silence the home fans.

Insurance however found the back of the net in added time after a goal-mouth struggle, and the home fans went into wild jubilation.

But their joy was cut short when the ref disallowed the goal. In anger, the fans trooped to the gate leading to the main bowl of the sports complex, in wait for Shuabu but the Edo Deputy Governor, sensing danger, formed a wall around the match officials with his security personnel, and escorted them to the dressing room.

Speaking after the match, an angry Shaibu threatened that the Benin Arsenal might stop competing in the Premier League if the management of the NPFL did not review the match video and correct what he termed “injustice.”

He said, “We are not happy. Kwara United came here, we scored a goal, and they disallowed the goal. The referee allowed the goal, but said the linesman (assistant ref) raised his flag, he disallowed it.

“Just last weekend, same scenario occurred, our goal was disallowed in Akure. Today, the same thing has happened. I think it is better we discontinue with the Premier League. We cannot continue to allow this kind of officiating to mar our games.

“We won the Kwara United game but they disallowed it (Insurance goal). When they reviewed the video, they saw that it was a goal. If they defeat us or they equalise, we don’t care, but not for them to make us lose points. We can’t continue like that.

“We have to discontinue with the league if LMC (League Management Company) does not probe the Kwara United match, Sunshine match and this one; we will discontinue with the league. We will write to them and we will not play the next match until our complaint is addressed.

“We are in the league and we are here to play according to the rules. You saw that we had to escort the referee out of the field so that the fans will not create a problem. We will continue to maintain discipline, but we will not maintain discipline at the instance of losing points at home and away.”