A Referee from Anambra State, Charles Ozigbo received the beating of his life over the weekend at the Fifa Goal Project Technical Centre in Abuja during the National League Week 30 tie between Ranchers Bees and Kwara United after he was pounced on by fans allegedly loyal to Kaduna based Bees.
The initial game between the two teams was abandoned in the 62nd minute at 2-2 at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna some weeks ago after Afonja Warriors’ players had to run for safety over threat on their lives from home fans who wanted Ranchers Bees’ return to the top flight at all costs.
Hell was let loose when the referee awarded a penalty against Ranchers Bees and their fans invaded the pitch to pounch on Ozigbo who was beaten to a state of coma before he was eventually rescued by the secretary of the FCT Football Association, Usman Haruna.
“It was a pitiable sight to behold for lovers of Nigerian football. You will notice from the beginning that there was tension everywhere on the part of Ranchers Bees.
All their movement before the start of the match was highly suspicious,” Kwara United’s head of protocol Demola Kiyesola recounted the incident to Goal.
“They didn’t come for the pre match meeting and they didn’t come with their official team bus. What we saw was them coming out from bush around just before the game started.
“They (fans of Ranchers) were causing trouble from the start of the game because they never saw anything good in the match officials handling of the match.
“The infringement given to us was the straw that incited the Ranchers Bees’ fans. They beat the match officials and the policemen that came to maintain law and order.”
Kiyesola said they have left everything in the hands of the league organizers to look at the match report of both the match officials and the match commissioner with the video evidence too and then decide what next to do.
Ranchers Bees needed a draw to qualify for the premier league after many years in the lower league while a win would see Kwara United gain an instant return to the top flight after a season in the lower cadre.