All over the world, football is one beautiful language that has been used to unite people from different backgrounds since it’s advent in 1939, even if they’re sworn enemies, but then football has to be able to break that barrier anytime it takes center stage.
However, despite the beauty of the game in Nigeria, crowd violence has always placed a huge dent on the game in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). It is no secret that in the Nigeria League, crowd violence is one thing that is very synonymous with the league back in the days, and it has always affected the development of the league.
In 2014, a match between Ranchers Bees and Kwara United were marred with violence when center referee Charles Ozigbo awarded a penalty to the away team, and it’s led to pitch encroachment by the home fans, and the referee was beaten mercilessly.
In fact, the unpalatable event mentioned above wasn’t the only gory event that did go down in the NPFL, some years back one of the best and most experienced NPFL coach Kadiri Ikhana, led Enyimba to a league match in Kaduna, and he returned back with a limping leg due to violence.
Referee Paul Umuagu, and his assistants, Auwalu Barau and Abdulwaheed Dauda, were beating black and blue when Enyimba fans pounced on the match official in a match against Heartland FC of Owerri. Barau was hit with sharp objects and never fully recovered from the injuries and trauma until he was pronounced dead in December 2011.
Likewise in 2019, the league was barely three weeks old, when another gory violence erupted in the match between Remo Stars and Bendel Insurance at the Gateway Stadium, in Sagamu.
Even before the Sagamu show of shame, we had witnessed a violent clash on the opening day of the league season in a match that involved Plateau United and Ifeanyi Ubah, and because of the barbaric act Plateau United were banished, and also fine 5millon naira.
Meanwhile, we also can’t forget the ugly incident between Pillars and Rangers which also ended violently when the fans encroached the pitch at Agege, in a match that ended in a draw.
— Garkuwa_photography (@aminugarkuwa04) January 15, 2020
Matchday 15, January 16, 2020, was another sad day NPFL fans will not forget in such a hurry, as we witnessed yet another violent act in the league, a match that involved Kastina United and Pillars as two lives were feared dead, but since the incident happened both parties have been claiming innocent.
However, with the gory violent still very fresh in our memories, more so with the return leg of the match still to come sometime this year, which we definitely don’t know what would transpire between the rival fans, the question we should ask is when would this deadly disease called violence ends in our league?
Hooliganism has been regular sport among NPFL home fans as of late, but it is actually a dismal story that LMC didn’t see this tormenting violence as a significant issue.
Notwithstanding, despite everything, it endures, albeit in new dimensions. Today, rather than the pretty much-unconstrained upsurges of fans violence of the past, it is a well-known fact that in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), a considerable lot of the clubs intentionally lose on away grounds, match officials giving the home teams un-deserve penalty since they want to avoid a strategic distance from the madness of the home fans.
To pick three solid points at away grounds and still traveled back safe is somewhat impossible unless the away side dominates the host team in such a way the home fans would see no justification for tumult.
The only body in line to provide answers to that question is definitely the League Management Company (LMC), perhaps they would proffer a solution to all these football hooliganism that has failed to go, so we could enjoy the beautiful game without constant fear of violence, and more so for the league to have good integrity.
Football is what should be enjoy by the fans, not what should kill them, if the people at the helms of affairs and the fans who were the major protagonist could get it right, maybe by picking positive note from other African league, such as the ‘Botola League’ in Morocco, the ‘PSL’ in South Africa, then we could boast of a standard league in Nigeria until then violence will continue casting a dark shadow over the league’s development.
At a point, the Nigerian League was appraised as one of the best in Africa, but the high cases of hooliganism, assaulting match officials and violence has given the league a resounding blow even world boxing champions would parry to avoid serious knock-down.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.
Top 10 Football Dribblers Of All Time
The beautiful game of football is arguably the only sport that entertains its fans with the opportunity to witness a genuine instance of sheer genius with a series of beautiful nutmegs. The display of skills, footwork, eye-catching dribbles by different players makes the game more entertaining.
A lot of players around the world can dribble, go past a defender with a single flick and pace. However, good dribblers can be considered as one of the most important key players of a team, as they can unlock any kind of defense.
There are tons of Football dribblers, but only the best have made it onto the CheapGoals list.
10. Roberto Rivelino
Rivelino’s magic with the ball was unbelievable, doing things nobody ever has or will do on a football pitch, and also had a quality of certainty about himself when he was on the ball.
He would not only wind past his opponents but also mortify them and smash defenders’ confidence. Sudden speeding up, various body bluffs would see him outfox defenders on numerous occasions, as some would say Garrincha made the ball talk to his feet.
Other than being authoritatively one of the best footballers to ever graced the beautiful game and lived with three World Cup medals, this iconic Brazilian player was incredible at dribbling. Being able to control the ball in front of defenders and going past them with ease and confidence is something an aspiring footballer would dream of.
8. George Best
Undoubtedly one of England’s greatest players, having scored 137 goals in 361 appearances for Manchester United in a career that spread over more than a decade for the Red Devils. He had the confidence to make use of the ball within and outside of his boot so well that he could cut around players quickly and easily.
De Lima is known for dribbling past defenders and after that going ahead to score a goal. only a few players have aced the popular ‘step over’ dribble as Ronaldo always proved to be a match-winner time over time with his solo dribbles.
6. Johan Cruyff
One of Cruyff’s best abilities was that he had the ability to recognize any weakness and shortcoming in a defender. Like De-lima, he had a move named after him called “The Cruyff Turn”. It would appear as though he was passing the ball to a teammate but instead to kick the ball, he would turn 90 degrees and drag the ball within his foot behind his back leg. This sudden 90-degree move always left the opponent over to the cleaners.
Talking about football dribblers, Garrincha compared to Pele was generally viewed as the best dribbler ever. His extraordinary speed combined with his stunning ball control always leaves defenders powerless, and unfit to deal with his mesmerizing dribbles. At just 5ft 6inches Garrincha’s low center of gravity helped him weave around opponents effortlessly.
4. Diego Maradona
Maradona uses a style of dribbling called “Gambetta” in which he would use his body position to trick into going the wrong way.
Maradona is an impudent, supreme football dribbler – who uses his small stature to make an extraordinary impact which made him one of the best dribblers in football. His strength and control made it difficult to knock him off the ball.
Considered by many as a standout amongst one of the most skillful players in football, he was commended for his abilities and inventiveness. only if his prime had lasted longer, he may very well have been crowned with Ballon d’Or but Okocha is one of the best football dribblers. Be that as it may, it always a joy to watch the Nigerian dazzle on the football pitch.
The former PSG forward and Brazil legend came into the limelight amid his time with Barcelona scoring 70 goals in 145 caps for the club. Dinho brought his mesmerizing pattern of football from the streets of Brazil onto the world stage, and defenders couldn’t deal with his skills and frills.
Every little thing about him appeared to be so superb. From his sly bluffs to his sudden change in increasing speed, all that he did was accompanied by a smile all over his face. His most popular trick was ‘Snake Bite’ where he would trick defenders by pushing the ball sideways, however, all of a sudden pulling the ball back the other way. He is considered one of the best football dribblers.
Having for all intents and purposes wins everything minus a World Cup, the four-time Balon d’Or winner is magnificently unstoppable on his day. The Barcelona forward has scored lots of stunning goals, beating three, four, even five players before firing it in the back of the net.
Mathias Sindelar, Zinedine Zidane, Micheal Laudrup, Adama Toure, Magico Gonzalez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr, Ariel Ortega, Eden Hazard,Dennis Bergkamp.
This is CheapGoal’s top 10 football dribblers, if any of our loving readers feel otherwise or have their preferred special list, pls don’t hesitate to drop and comment…