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2024 NLO Match Day 1: Fans, Buruj FC CEO, commend fair officiating after Matchday 1 in Maracana

Posted : 23 April 2024

The newly renovated Maracana Stadium in Ajegunle, Lagos, was a beehive of grassroots football as the 2024 Nigeria Nationwide League One kicked off in Lagos.

The center hosting the 2024 Nigeria Nationwide League One (NLO) witnessed high-quality football characterized by a high number of goals.

This has been attributed to good all-around organization by the NLO board as well as a high level of professionalism exhibited by the match officials.

Some of the fans at the stadium attest to the fact when speaking to our correspondent after the weekend games.

A fan named Emmanuel said it’s been a good time out for him as the teams have been entertaining him with some good football and great goals.

"I am here to watch just a match initially but the entertaining nature of the matches has kept me going. I must commend the organizers for putting a decent league for the youth.”

On the level of officiating, Emmanuel said he was impressed with the high level of professionalism displayed by the referees and made a special mention of Gbemi, the youngest of all the referees at the Maracana Stadium.

"The referees aren’t doing badly; teams cannot complain because they have been fair to all in their discharge of duties. I was particularly impressed by that young girl referee. I love the way she was firm with decision-making,” said Emmanuel.

In attestation to the high level of arbitration offered by the referees, the CEO of Buruj FC, Waheed Salaudeen, also corroborated Emmanuel’s views on the level of performance of the referees when he was quizzed about officiating after his team, Buruj FC, lost to BYT by 4-1.

"It is easy to attribute the loss to poor refereeing (the norm when a team loses in Nigeria), but I must confess the young girl (Gbemi) in the center of our match was really impressive in the match.”

"All her calls were on point and timely; I like her runs, her boldness in decision-making, and ultimately the way she communicates with her two ARs is top-notch.”

“The young girl has a superb future ahead of her in the game if she can keep her performance up.”

Buruj FC scored first in their game but conceded four goals, including a penalty, to lose the match by 4-1.

The NLO is the third tier of league football in Nigeria, a platform for youth players to develop and nurture their career to greatness.

Matches will resume on Thursday at the Maracana Stadium from 8 am all day.

The Maracana center Lagos is one of the numerous centers for the 2024 NLO season as matches are going on simultaneously with over four hundred youth clubs participating.


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