Penalties with a twist
For many, a penalty shootout is the pinnacle of soccer entertainment. It pits the players against the keepers, testing their mettle in one of the most high-pressure situations in the world of sport. But one recent shootout has entertained Twitter users for another far more suspicious reason – potential match-fixing.
The game in question took place between the Remo Stars and Ijebu United in Nigeria on Thursday. As it was the final of the Ogun State FA Cup, a 0-0 draw took the game to penalties. That’s where things took a different turn, with two bizarre penalty kicks going viral on social media.
fires it so wide that it travels out at the touchline
In a clip shared widely on Twitter, one Ijebu United player scores his penalty while the keeper remains fixed in the spot without moving an inch. Then, a penalty taker for Remo steps forward and fires it so wide that it travels out at the touchline. Although the player holds his head in his hands in a display of dismay, most Twitter users are not convinced.
Out for a throw-in
Nigerian sports reporter Ibukun Aluko was one of the first to share the video of the incident. He claims the penalties show a clear incident of match-fixing in Ijebu’s ultimate 3-0 victory over Remo:
Ghanaian sports reporter Kwame Benaiah labeled the video: “Match fixing taken to another level.” Meanwhile, one Twitter user named Coley conceded that “Nigeria is not the first and will not be the last to match fix,” but questioned: “why did they make it look obvious?” Others have even called for both teams to be banned from all competitions.
The original poster of the video, Jegede Babajide, also shared a clip of another suspicious penalty in the shootout. It sees the Remo player fire the ball wide along the ground without reacting afterward:
Match fixing has been present in the world of Nigerian soccer for years. In 2013, players and officials involved in two promotion play-off games received lifetime bans after an investigation into questionable scorelines. Amazingly, the first game finished 79-0, while the second ended on a slightly more modest scoreline of 67-0.
attempted to manipulate the outcome of a match
More recently, the Nigeria Football Federation announced a two-year ban for a coach in the country’s lower leagues last year. Remi Amadi of Cofine FC supposedly attempted to manipulate the outcome of a match with Bussdor FC, revealed in a tape of a conversation tendered as evidence.