Fans express discontent as MFM FC begins to serve three-match ban
The fans of Lagos-based MFM FC on Sunday displayed discontent as security agents enforcing a three-match ban on the team turned them back from watching their darling club at the Agege Stadium.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Match Day 27 fixture of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) was between MFM and Heartland FC of Owerri.
It was to be played behind closed doors following the ban by the League Management Company (LMC) which also fined MFM N4 million for the infraction on the pitch.
MFM is to serve the compulsory three-match closed door ban due to the pitch invasion by its fans in the Match Day 23 encounter with 3SC of Ibadan.
NAN reports that there was a mild drama at the stadium on Sunday when the law enforcement agents battled to prevent non-violent MFM fans from gaining entry into the stadium.
The fans obviously unaware of the stadium ban had trooped to the stadium as usual only to be turned back by a combined team of stern-looking Mobile Policemen.
Unaccredited journalists also had their share of the ban as they were also denied entry except upon showing evidence of accreditation but many of the journalists miffed by the restriction stood their ground.
It, however, took the LMC’s Liaison Officer, Harry Iwuala’s intervention before the journalists were eventually allowed to cover the match.
NAN reports that about 500 die-hard fans were seen all over the available spaces on the balcony of the adjourning storey houses around the stadium and the Agege Local Government Headquarters fence.
Speaking to NAN a resident of one of the occupied buildings, Adesanya Tunji, called for more crowd control at the stadium and lamented the discomfort caused by the unrepentant fans.
“I just saw the crowd trooping into our compound; we tried to turn them back, but they were unrepentant, begging to be of good conduct only for them to continue cheering the team.
“Some of the fans almost broke down the railings on the balcony, while sitting on it. It was like a sweet-sour experience because at the same time we could see passion being displayed.
“There should be more awareness on this type of situation because our balcony hosted more than a hundred of the fans sandwiching themselves,’’ he said.
A fan, Musibau Lamidi, said the passion for the Lagos club necessitated their action of finding alternatives to watch the match, adding that he was unaware of the stadium ban.
“I only came to the stadium to meet security agents turning us back at the gate. We pleaded with them but they were unfazed; so, we devised other means to watch the match.
“We are not happy with this ban; what kind of ban is this denying us our right to watch the match without informing us.
“This is a wicked penalty meted out not to MFM alone but the fans also.
“We are peace loving fans and we do not make trouble; we are just scapegoats for them,’’ he said.
Another fan, Soji Awotunji, a local herbs seller, said the stadium ban would translate to a low patronage of his wares, adding that he made huge sales on match days.
“I don’t understand this at all; I used to sell my herbs mixed with local gin here in the stadium during match days and I used to make good sales.
“But today, the patronage is low because many fans are not allowed within the stadium complex. Business activities have been low,’’ he lamented.
NAN reports that Lagos-based MFM defeated Heartland FC of Owerri 2-0 in spite of the closed door ban.
MFM Media Officer, Olawale Quadri, said the team was determined to prove a point with the game.
“It was painful playing without the fans present in the stadium but nonetheless, what can we do? We need to justify that we are a peace loving team.
“We really sympathise with the fans that were unable to see the match; we promise to always appreciate their support with victories,’’ he said. (NAN)