It was too good to be true and it was simply not true. Plateau United Feeders’ utter annihilation of Akurba FC and Police Machine FC’s equally amazing 67-0 victory over Bubayaro FC in their respective play-off matches was a shocking display of stupidity in criminal activity. The two victors had previously played two rounds of matches in the competition and were deadlocked on points, goals, and advantages so this last round of matches was crunch time for them. As at half-time, Plateau United were 7 nil up and Police Machine 6 nil up and it can only be imagined the kind of comedy that would have been involved in scoring 72 and 61 goals respectively in just 45 minutes!
For years now the Nigerian football league has been afloat with rumors of match-fixing and malpractices which should not be mentioned in the beautiful game. It has been indeed bad for Nigerian football, really bad, in fact so bad that it is almost unheard of for a team to win three away matches in a season! The best result an away team can hope for in the Nigerian professional league is a draw which is almost a miracle and if you can draw five away matches coupled with ALL YOUR HOME MATCHES THAT YOU MOST CERTAINLY WILL WIN, you are assured of a top two finish.
Such is the sorry state of the Nigerian league that the winner and relegated teams most times are separated only by a handful of points sometimes as amazingly low as 10. To the casual observer, this bears a testimony to the competitive nature of the league but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the trick after seeing the results of two match days.
Last week’s miraculous score line that has prompted the hypocritical outcry across footballing circles in Nigeria therefore is no surprise. What is surprising is the quarters from which the uproar is coming. The same irresponsible administrators culpable for the bastardization of Nigerian football through their various acts of commission and omission are laughably the same ones in the fore-front of the cry for “justice”.
I imagine in the traditional Nigerian way, a multi-million naira panel will be set up in the following weeks, to investigate the incident, the panel will copy and present the report of an earlier panel and the report will as usual be thrown in the bin, the perpetrators will be publicized as evil, corrupt and ostensibly banned for a ridiculously short time (say 2 months) and the commencement of the new League season will be delayed by 5 months, with the resultant effect that THE BANNED PERPETRATORS WILL STILL START THE NEXT LEAGUE SEASON WITH OTHER TEAMS!