By Patrick Omorodion
These are not ordinaryÂ Â Â times for the NigeriaÂ Â Â Professional League (NPL) as well as its President, Chief Oyuki Obaseki, following the scandalous 9-0 result recorded by Zamfara United Football Club of Gusau against Kaduna United on the last day of the 2008/2009 season.
Going by the result posted by the NPL all through the season, the best results recorded by Zamfara United before the scandalous 9-0 were those recorded against Kano Pillars and Akwa United.
At the beginning of the season last September, Zamfara handed Pillars a 3-1 spanking and waited until March this year before it recorded its best result, 3-0 against Akwa United. During the course of the year, they even lost a home match against visiting Gateway Football Club of Abeokuta by 1-2 on January 18, 2009.
If a club which had a poor run all through the season and were on the verge of being relegated could wake up and pound Kaduna United, who were at the middle of the pack, 9-0, then something must have been amiss.
Two seasons ago, Akwa United Football Club of Uyo were caught in the same quagmire and needed 13-0 to remain in the elite club of football teams, they got it and heavens did not fall. The club and Akwa Ibom State sports council defended the result, claiming it was possible, as the team worked hard for it.
The probe instituted by the league body came out with a no-case-verdict and Akwa United remained on stream for Premier League action. Surprisingly, the same â€˜fraudâ€™ has caught up with them, sending them back to the lower division and they have shamelessly filed a protest on the 9-0 result of Zamfara United against Kaduna United.
Even though people should not shed a tear for the Akwa Ibom team, commonsense calls for the NPL to probe the scandal because if they fail to do something about it like it was with Akwa United two seasons ago, then it would not be wrong to predict the death of the league in Nigeria in a matter of time.
occurred in Italy, the issue was properly investigated and the clubs, Juventus and AC Milan, high profile clubsÂ for that matter, were not spared. Italian football was the best for that decision, as the national team rose from the ashes of that national disgrace to lift the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Last December during a parley with sports journalists at the Airport Hotel in Ikeja, Chief Obaseki, leading his team at the NPL said â€œthe league has had its challenges, but the difference is that we at the league have not allowed those challenges to overwhelm us. We have seen them as the tonic and that is why we have been able to wax strong with great strides and feats.â€
I guess that Chief Obaseki, a.k.a. Moving Train, is allowing the Zamfara scandal to overwhelm him already against his pronouncement last December by saying that nothing will come out of the probe. No matter the involvement of two of his board members in the two cheating clubs, Chief Obaseki, if he wants the Nigerian League to retain its reputation as shown by the recent rating by FIFA, must investigate this scandalous results, the amount to be spent doing so notwithstanding.