Enyimba of Aba goalkeeper, Theophilus Affelokhai has condemned the attitude of Abia Warriors of Umuahia fans, who went violent during Sunday’s Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) derby against his team, and charged officials of their fellow-Abia State-owned outfit to put their supporters in check.
Megasportsarena.com reports that, although Afelokhai admitted that derby matches are always prone to have tensed up moment and flashpoints, he pointed out that Abia Warriors’ fans should take a cue from Enyimba’s supporters, who he recalled did not go haywire where their team recently lost against the same opposition, hence his charge on the need for counseling of Umuahia football faithful.
The former shot-stopper from Sunshine Stars of Akure went on to appeal to Warriors’ chairman, Chief Emeka Onyema to educate his club’s fans on the need to avoid violence, but equally noted that Enyimba’s fans also need their own part of counseling.
He spoke at length after the Abia State derby turned bloody, as Warriors’ fans attacked their counterparts, which eventually led to an injury to Enyimba chairman, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu, as well as match officials and some spectators.
Afelokhai stated: ”Last week they played against us and we won the game it went peacefully, derby games are always filled with violence. It is for the chairmen to talk to their fans and the team because there is no guarantee that such can’t repeat itself again.”
Anyansi-Agwu also gave his candid advice on the way forward, after he sustained a head injury during the spate of violence that led to the match being called off by officials in the 24th minute as the angry mob refused to leave the pitch.
Trouble started when the referee awarded a penalty to Abia Warriors in the 10th minute, after Abiodun Adebayo brought down James Odeh, but Emeka Isaac missed the spot kick, which sent the visiting supporters into wild jubilations.
That infuriated Warriors’ fans, who then got into a fight with the Enyimba supporters, thereby resulting in a free-for-all fracas, which continued spreading, despite appeals by the chairmen of both teams for calm yielded no result.
In the resultant chaos, Anyansi-Agwu sustaining a head injury after being hit by a stone and he needed three stitches to stop the blood and cover the wound after the attack, which he noted was instigated and worsened by fans of Abia Warrriors.
Anyansi-Agwu told The PUNCH: “From the VIP box where we were, I went down to instruct our supporters to leave their stand completely. While I was pushing them to leave, so that if they leave that stand, they will not see anyone to attack, the Abia Warriors fans started attacking us.
“They started pursuing us with stones, pellets and sticks. One of the stones landed on my head and that was how I was rushed to the hospital. I had about three stitches on my head after I was rushed to the hospital.”