By Ayoola Adeleke
It reeks to see and hear that followers of the Nigerian National League (NNL) are beginning to see league matches in this 21st century been postponed by the league organisers – due to transportation issues affecting a club – with no replay date yet announced by the organisers.
It’s funny to read that a match was abruptly ended in the “Most Important League in Nigeria” – NNL, without any announcements made concerning it after three weeks; one club having this as a burden on them and psychologically must be battling to cope with the reasons behind the delayed verdicts.
Bendel Insurance football club on the 9th day of May had their week 15 NNL match against Holy Arrows brought to an abrupt end after 79 minutes of play, after the away team – Bendel Insurance and match officials left the stadium complex after the host fans encroached to cause chaos.
Proceeding this, NNL was quick to give a stern warning to Kogi United assistant coach, Abubakar Musa to stay off unruly behaviours and acts capable of bringing the league to disrepute in their match against Road safety, same weekend Holy Arrows vs Insurance of Benin was altered due to attitude which may as well bring the league to disrepute – but only heavens can tell why abandoned match between Holy Arrows and Bendel Insurance didn’t get it’s the verdict – incompetency or saboteur?
Shockingly, the NNL on Friday, 14th day of May 2021, released a very laughable statement for the postponement of Bendel Insurance matches against Abia Comets stating vehicular movement as a reason for postponing a match scheduled for Saturday till further notice in the following statement credited to the Chief Operating Officer of the league, Emmanuel Adesanya: “Important Notice of Force Majeure – Bendel Insurance FC Vs Abia Comets FC.”
“We write to inform you that following the unprecedented hold up at Onitsha Bridge which has made vehicular movement impossible, and has prevented Abia Comets FC to connect Benin through Asaba, the Match; Bendel Insurance FC Vs Abia Comets is hereby placed on hold.”
“A new date will be communicated to the clubs concerned.”
“Thank you for your understanding, please.”
I’m never saying that the league management does not have the power to postpone any game/s as seen fitting, but then indefinitely is the big question here for a match that could have been rescheduled for Sunday or Monday after the Friday when the traffic congestion couldn’t have allowed the game to go on as planned – Asaba to the capital of Edo state is a 55 minutes journey and how they couldn’t have arrived in Benin the following day is a something of great possibility, but when the game had to be called off without a new date after four days, then the question on the lips on many is “are these people competent enough, or they are trying to sabotage the efforts of Bendel Insurance?” Whatever the answer may be, it’s disappointing.
However, the NNL should in their responsive mechanism and with immediate effect come up with a way forward to these pending matches. It’s not alien to anyone in this country what could happen to our leagues at any point in time; the NWFL Premiership season should send a clear message to other leagues Organisers what they must do at every point in time and shouldn’t allow delay in any match – which could raise a lot of dust should anything happen to the league now. The NNL should come out with decisions on the pending Bendel Insurance matches if truly nothing is happening behind the scene as posited by opinions.
I don’t want to have it in my head for a second that a team’s efforts could be sabotaged in the league, by the organisers; on what basis would that be off at all it’s looking like it’s the case? The NNL should as a matter of urgency respond to people’s opinions and come up with a verdict that will make people believe they are not sabotaging the efforts of a particular team, at the same time not incompetent as many also have posited.
I have a strong faith in the NNL and I believe some things need attention, probably one of the reasons why they haven’t come up with their final stand on the abandoned match between Holly Arrows and Bendel Insurance due to fans interruption and the postponed match involving Bendel Insurance and Abia Comets who were held back as a result of traffic congestion along Asaba-Benin road.