This was the Lagos Derby. Lagos state had not had one in years. These two teams that had just been promoted to the Nigerian Professional Football League set Lagos football fans on the edge again – at least the ones interested in the NPFL. Ikorodu United vs MFM FC. It was a physical game.
It started with the players, from both sides, clobbering into each other, trying to outpace each other and the goalies not exactly having so much to do. Of course that’s why the game ended in a draw – an interesting one if you ask me.
So, since there were no goals, how about some talking points from the derby?
Ikorodu United need to work on their set-piece plays FAST!
And I mean every word up there. You should have seen their free-kicks (if you luckily missed them). They were terrible! Most of the kicks were nothing to write home about. It was as if they rarely practised anything like it in their training sessions. Maybe they were not expecting to play any in this game (how outrageous). Lucky (the guy that took the free-kicks for Ikorodu) kept making the kicks seem harmless everytime he tried. It was that bad – except for the one time he forced the goalie into.making a save. Well, for a team that just gained promotion to the top flight of Nigerian football, maybe they can’t be blamed. Maybe they’re still stuck in the lower division they came from and can’t wait to go back.
MFM FC Can be the Barcelona of the Nigerian Professional Football League
This was the first time I’d see them play fully (saw bits of their match against 3SC in Ibadan) and their ball-passing skills were obvious! They tried to move the ball around fast, especially when they were in their opponent’s half and they sometimes succeeded in leaving their opponents (the not-so-stubborn ones) in the dark.
But sometimes they played the ball around too fast; too fast to even keep up with it!
But in all, they passed better than their counterparts. Exchanges between Onuwa and Ifeanyi reminded me of something that I would have usually seen somewhere called the Nou Camp in Barcelona, Spain. It’s a huge comparison I know but then again, why not if not eh? The Catalan giants started from somewhere too!
Nigerian Referees DON’T KNOW JACK About Refereeing
Let me ask you: Imagine you saw a poorly dressed, dirty-looking employee of a certain bank (just imagine) who, to make matters worse, did not have the best attitude in town and behaved very rudely towards you, – outside the bank of course – you’d almost judge the entire bank and even its banking system by this employee right?
Now you can understand the reason why I’m choosing to say Nigerian referees WILL CONTINUE to lag behind their counterparts in the world, especially if they keep officiating like the man who was the centre referee for the Lagos Derby. When you have a referee that gives two yellow cards, to the same player, in the space of 5 seconds – and this was in the minutes after regulation time and added time combined – then you can already predict where the NPFL currently stands as regards match officials and the pit they’re dangerously headed for.
Was good to see bulky defender Nedum of Ikorodu United move swiftly and keep up with the pace of MFM’s Olatubosun and co. Although this man looked like something that would usually be competing for the NFL Super Bowl, he blended in perfectly on this football pitch and was a pain in the neck of MFM FC. So much for being the captain of the team and leading by example.
Talking of captains, the MFM FC captain deserves loads of credit too. Okpara Austin put up an excellent 2nd half performance and put at bay everything that the boys from Ikorodu threw at his team while being the marshall of a 10-man team. Round of applause
Oh! Before I forget, there was a lady amongst the match officials. Her name is Felicia. She was one of the games’s linesmen – we can call her lineswoman right? Boy did she have some eagle eyes. She just dey catch offside anyhow! – correctly though. She even had “balls” enough to ask a player to back off and quit arguing her decision.
Well done Felicia! Looking forward to seeing you officiate more games!
Rotimi Daramola is a full time footballing polygamist that loves watching football and is in love with writing about the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and engage him on Facebook (Rotdavdara) and on Twitter @rotdav
Author: Rotimi “Papi the Great” Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi the Great is the owner of ForTheGoal.
A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio and television to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @papi_thegreat to keep up with his writings, engage him and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.