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Katsina Utd-Kano Pillars bus incident: NPFL fans demand action

by Joel Omotto

A section of fans in Nigeria want Kano Pillars to be punished following reported incidents of fan violence and vandalism that allegedly led to Katsina United’s team bus being badly damaged during a Nigeria Professional Football League match at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano on Saturday.

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The incident comes less than a month after Nigeria’s World Cup qualifier against Ghana in Abuja was marred by scenes of fan violence.

With the match goalless after 82 minutes, irate fans invaded the stadium, attacking everyone in sight as players and match officials scampered for safety with the game ending abruptly.

The violent fans appeared to target anything in their sight, with facilities in the stadium and the Katsina United team bus, whose windows were smashed according to unverified photos as seen by GOAL, not spared as hooliganism reared its ugly head in the NPFL once again.

The incident took place on a day when Kano Pillars were returning to their home ground for the first time in two years due to a ban occasioned by fan violence.

“The game was going well until the 82nd minute when the Kano Pillars fans invaded the pitch and tried attacking our players. Our staff and players were helped into the dressing room,” Katsina media officer Sani Gide, told Nigeria’s Premium Times, appearing to blame Pillars fans for the incident.

He added: “After we were secured, the angry fans went outside the stadium and vandalised the bus. All the bags and other valuable belongings belonging to the players have been carted away. There is nothing of any value left in the bus.”

A number of fans online have also reacted to the incident, calling for Pillars to be punished.

“[Kano Pillars] played twice in Katsina, then coming back to play their remaining matches in Kano, some angry fans of Pillars take revenge on what Katsina fans did in Katsina some years back,” @ismailmighty said on Twitter, trying to explain the genesis of the chaos, to which @Edrees_Bmk responded.

“Revenge for some years back, wow! This is crazy but I am very sure if LMC (League Management Committee) will not take any decision, same thing will happen again next time in Katsina. We have a long way to go in this league,” he said.

“It saddens me each time such an incident happens. Some fans in the domestic league have become too fanatic and obsessed with the idea that all home teams are entitled to a win,” responded @a2zfootballhub.

@naija_reporter is tired of such incidents and wants action now.

“The shenanigans in #NPFL22 are taking a new twist by the week. Katsina United may have been served their own coin by Kano Pillars fans, as their fans have been unruly at one time this season, that's not to say what happened at the Abacha Stadium was right. @LMCNPFL act now.”

Further supporters demanded that action be taken against the club, in order to prevent further incidents.

“Kano Pillars fans destroyed the team bus of Katsina United when the game was even 0-0. LMC must act fast before these fans turn to animals. Deduct points and heavy sanctions,” said @PoojaMedia who wants Pillars punished.

The League Management Committee is yet to make a statement over the ugly scenes, while GOAL have contact playing staff from Katsina United in order to establish further details of the incident.