A Nigerian soccer game has gone viral for all the wrong reasons after bizarre penalty kicks sparked match-fixing allegations.
Penalties with a twist
For many, a penalty shootout is the pinnacle of football entertainment. It pits players against goalkeepers, testing their mettle in one of the most pressured situations in sports. But a recent shooting has entertained Twitter users for another, much more suspicious reason: potential match-fixing.
The game in question took place between Remo Stars and Ijebu United in Nigeria on Thursday. As this was Ogun State’s FA Cup final, a 0-0 draw took the game to a penalty shootout. This is where things took a different turn, with two bizarre penalty kicks going viral on social media.
shoots him so wide he moves on the sideline
In a clip shared widely on Twitter, an Ijebu United player scores his penalty while the goalkeeper remains frozen in place without moving an inch. Then a penalty taker for Remo comes forward and shoots him so wide he moves to the sideline. Although the player holds his head in his hands in dismay, most Twitter users remain unconvinced.
Out for a throw-in
Nigerian sports journalist Ibukun Aluko was one of the first to share the video of the incident. He claims the penalties show a clear match-fixing incident in Ijebu’s 3-0 ultimate win over Remo:
Ghanaian sports journalist Kwame Benaiah called the video: “Match rigging taken to another level”. Meanwhile, a Twitter user named Coley conceded that “Nigeria is not the first and won’t be the last to match the fix” but asked, “why did they make it look obvious ?” Others even called for both teams to be banned from all competitions.
The video’s original poster, Jegede Babajide, also shared a clip of another suspicious penalty in the shootout. He sees the Remo player shoot the ball wide on the ground without reacting afterwards:
Nigerian Match Fixing
Match-fixing has been present in the world of Nigerian football for years. In 2013, players and officials involved in two promotion games received lifetime bans after questionable scores were investigated. Surprisingly, the first match ended 79-0, while the second ended a slightly more modest score of 67-0.
attempted to manipulate the outcome of a match
More recently, the Football Federation of Nigeria announced a two-year ban for a coach from the country’s lower leagues last year. Cofine FC’s Remi Amadi allegedly tried to manipulate the result of a game with Bussdor FC, revealed in a tape of a conversation presented as evidence.