The Week 12 encounter of the Nigeria National League between Kogi United and Adamawa United in Lokoja on Wednesday was not concluded as a result of foul play and politics employed by the away side.
The match, played at the Confluence Stadium, witnessed a strong power play and twists in the rules by the officiating officials.
Adamawa United – one of the contenders for the promotion to the Premier League – came with a game plan of claiming a victory against Kogi United but didn’t possess the team to do so.
Nelson Ukwa scored the first goal that was disallowed by Centre Referee Mohammed Issa Rilwan from Niger State in the 24th minute.
The Players and fans of Kogi United were left frustrated again after referee Mohammed Rilwan ruled out another goal for the home side, when Adamawa goalkeeper, Inyakson Andeika, failed to grab John Jerome’s bullet shot in 38th minute as he slipped away from his grab before Mayaki Ismail tucked in the ball.
This led to protest by Kogi United players as they weren’t happy with the referee as they demanded to know why he disallowed such a scoring opportunity, which he failed to give any explanation to.
The home fans were not also happy with Rilwan’s calls to disallow the earlier goals as they walked down to show their dissatisfaction to the Match Commissioner, Akoshile Tijani Lanre from Kwara State.
It was the Match Commissioner, Lanre, with the help of impressive officers and men of the Nigeria Police that returned normalcy to the arena.
Having noticed their plans have failed, Adamawa United players refused to continue with the game till referee Rilwan sounded the whistle to end the first half as they discovered they wouldn’t get even a draw against the Wada Boys.
Earlier before the kick-off, Captain of Adamawa United, Abubakar Shehu, had jokingly told Stephen Musa of Kogi United that they were in Lokoja for the three maximum points and were ready to claim it by all means.
One of the scorers of disallowed goal, Nelson Ukwa, also claimed one of the players of the Yola-based club had told him that no goal will be counted for the Wada Boys as the referee has been directed to favour them by all means.
The race for sole Premier League ticket in Group A1 looks to have fallen between Plateau United and Adamawa United, with the former having greater chances of nicking it after gaining another valuable points with 2-0 away win at Yobe Desert Stars.
A statement signed by the club’s Chairman, Abdul Sule, said: “Adamawa United are desperately looking for their own chances to pick an away victory which they don’t have a team that can do so. Their confidence lies on the connection and popularity of their chairman, Emmanuel Zira who also doubles as a board member in the NNL.
“Zira has been using his position as a strong member of the board to favor Adamawa United with the appointments of referees of his choice who will do as he says among other supports, and that was what we saw in Lokoja on Wednesday, if not, how can the two good goals be disallowed against the home and you waived an offside chance for Adamawa to score us, this is absolutely unfair.
“We hope and believe the board will follow the rules tenaciously and award us our maximum points, because they walked out of the pitch even after the referee and match commissioner have asked the game resume.”
The decision on the stalemated match between Kogi United and Adamawa United in the Match Day 12 of the NNL will further determine the integrity of Emeka Inyama-led board that has always been accused of fixing whoever promote to the apex league or goes down at the end of every league seasons.