Good morning all. Today we would do something we are not used to doing.
There’s a guy whose blog I follow. Well, bloggers do have respect for fellow bloggers but this guy is quite exceptional. He blogs on www.forthegoals.wordpress.com. Good English, sound analysis and he blogs quite often. You should visit him sometime, you would thank me later. Anyway, he put up a post on his blog (and I didn’t even take any permission), here am I trying to reshare his blogpost on mine. It’s on the Saturday
defeat draw. Thank you and sorry for stealing.
On Saturday, the NPFL featured a mouth-watering clash between Enyimba FC and MFM FC. This was a contest between two teams whose recent forms were almost the same, but were miles apart on the league table.
MFM FC, whose season had started on a bright note (any club in the NPFL with an away win this early in the season has started on a bright note), were looking to at least not lose in this one.
Enyimba, looking (and playing) like the evil twin of the club that conquered Africa, were on a mission: to at least garner all three points to help move ‘table-climbing‘ ministry to its permanent site.
The game ended in a 1-1 draw, with MFM FC drawing first blood thanks to a beautiful volley from Stephen Odey (the league’s current top goalscorer) and a late equalizer from the Elephants of Aba. It was literally MFM FC’s 1st half vs Enyimba’s 2nd half.
As with all NPFL games, this one wasn’t void of its own fair share of drama (as per say dis na awa game and we dey play am awa own way!). Let’s quickly discuss all the talking points from the game in Enyimba’s ‘home away from home’ in Calabar.
1. The Pitch and 50 Shades of Green…
… or brown, as the case may be. In a way, it’s strange that the first talking point of an exciting game is the state of the pitch. But, that’s how ‘un-missable’ the playing turf inside the Calabar stadium was.
I watched this one on T.V and, the first thing that greeted my eyes was this ‘absurd-looking’ pitch (alongside the over-half-empty stadium which I’ll be discussing later), having like a thousand shades of different colours ranging from green to brown.
I’m of the school of thought that men (well, most of us) are colour blind. So, maybe a woman would have been able to specifically identify the different colours the grass on the pitch was having. For those who saw this game, you know what I’m saying.
For those who didn’t, let me try painting the scene out for you (pun intended of course!). This soccer field (like my Yankee people go call am) had colours ranging from deep green, light green, acid green, brown, Ibadan-roofs-brown (if you’ve been to Ibadan, Nigeria, especially the Beere, Odinjo part of the city, you’ll understand this part better), light brown and more I couldn’t recognise.
The first question that came to mind when I saw the state of the pitch was,
The other that followed tethered around the reason why Enyimba would chose to not take care of their home away from home.
Yes, not all questions have answers. But, from how the sandy pitch seemed to make the ball bounce awkwardly everytime, to how it made life hard for the respective players, maybe the right people should be looking to answer these questions already.
So, for the sake of Enyimba playing well and having a good season maybe (just maybe) a stadium tweak should help improve the outlook of the pitch (just a suggestion from a football fan) and their poor-so-far season.
2. Empty Fan-Less Stadium
No, it wasn’t a completely empty stadium. The fans just refused to show up! Yeah, there were a few heads here and there with some young whistle blowers in the stands (more on this coming right up), it wasn’t up to standard.
You’re probably wondering what this so-called standard is. Actually, it doesn’t even exist… yet, when it comes to fans thronging to stadia across the nation to watch various clubs strut their stuff.
But, Kano Pillars, Ifeanyi Ubah, MFM FC (being the only Lagos-based football club in the NPFL) amongst others, are gradually raising the bar. They’re setting a standard, the standard. And Enyimba is far behind keeping up with these names.
The reason can be tied to their temporary relocation to Calabar, a state most of their fans may not reside in. Another reason may be that the fans fear to behold football being played on such a terrible-looking pitch. Another reason can be, simply put: The fans aren’t even interested.
If it’s the latter, it’s safe to throw optimism out the window and keep advertising the NPFL like as if we have never done it before. Let’s leave this as food for thought to whoever it concerns.
3. The Whistle Blowers
I have come to realise that football fans can express themselves however they want when they’re in the stadium.
Of course, fighting/hooliganism is not condoned (but those Russians just won’t listen), dancing, singing, clapping, looking lost and forlon, a quick chat, and a selfie are just some of the many things fans involve themselves with while in ‘The Zone.’
Another is blowing whistles, either in disagreement with the decision of the referee, to send the ref a reminder about how much is left or to boo the players. So, I thought blowing a whistle in a football stadium was legal… until I was proven wrong on Saturday.
Enyimba, on a fast counter against the Olukoya boys, had three of theirs against two MFM FC players I think (can’t exactly remember now). A pass was threaded to one of the Aba Boys who was through on goal.
Then, there was a whistle, blown not once, but twice. The players halted their move, thinking they were offside. But they weren’t. The ref had not blown his own whistle. Amongst those watching the game, two little children were messing around with something that looked like their latest toys: whistles.
This sent some of the older fans into a frenzy as the sudden stop of play made the ref to ACTUALLY stop play and give a decision against Enyimba. Long story short, the little ones were stripped of their whistles, while being surrounded by disgruntled men who expressed frustration, not only because of the kids, but also because of the thought of what could have been: a goal for Enyimba.
4. Let’s Talk About the Weird Ref
Was too lazy to even look up his name but I remember the match commentator mentioned that he was from Kano.
This centre ref, one way or the other, just managed to dish out all of his bookings on the day to MFM FC players.
Seeing as they’re humans, not machines, it’s impossible for refs to get all calls right. Somewhere in the mix, there is something called improvement and another called not trying to stare down players when they come running to you to share complaints or argue with you.
Enough. The rest of the post is right there on his website. Go and read for yourself cos we are done here for today.