Rugby: Criticisms Trail League Resumption (AUDIO)

Assistant coach of Nigeria Police Rugby Football Club Abubakar Tahiru has criticised the standard of officiating and lack of structure in the South West Rugby League following his side’s narrow 8-7 victory over Cowrie FC at the main bowl of the National Stadium, Lagos on Saturday. 

Tahiru’s criticism of the referee’s performance stemmed from the decision to chalk off a try scored by his side after the referee had initially deemed the try legitimate.

The referee’s decision which was instigated by outside interference, left Tahiru incensed and led to a lengthy standoff with Police RFC threatening to abandon the match if the try stayed overruled.

The try was eventually given after a journalist’s video footage was used to analyse the event with Police RFC holding on to secure a narrow victory.

That incident Tahiru believes, showed up the incompetence of the league’s referees and he says referees must update their knowledge of the laws of the game.

“The officiating, they need to put more encouragement,” Tahiru said after his side’s narrow victory.

“Maybe they should go for a kind of referee course that will give them more enlightenment because with what I saw today, for them to stop the game for more than 30 minutes, arguing [against] a try which they know that this is a try.

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“For someone to just make a decision from outside after the ref might have awarded a try then he only comes to cancel the try because he has asked the third judge and the third judge has made a decision that this is a try then he raised his hand and say this is a try then later come from somewhere and cancel the try, it is not encouraging,” he added.

Tahiru said his team only agreed to continue with the match because of the referee’s decision to overrule himself and maintain his original decision.

“We should give glory to God for them to have [upturned] the decision,” he said. “I don’t think we would have continued that match because I would have [stood] on my ground standing as the assistant coach of Nigeria police today. I’m very happy that I won the victory.”

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The assistant coach who took charge in the absence of his principal also had strong words for the organisers of the league criticising the parlous state of the league’s finances which he said left players and teams to fend for themselves with little or no help from organisers the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF) and corporate bodies.

“The organisation, for now, it is not encouraging, I can’t hide it,” Tahiru said.

“With the way everything is going we are only playing rugby with our raw body, nothing is given. We are all playing with our sweats, doing training on our own. No encouragement from anywhere no companies sponsoring anything.

“Some of [my players] had injuries, there is nothing inside my first aid box. From our efforts, we source from hand to hand to make sure we come out and play because of the love of the game.

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“Nobody is encouraging us, we hope for sponsors to help Nigeria police, assist us for further upcoming games,” he said.

League games resumed around the country after an extended break due to the national team’s participation in the just concluded West Africa Rugby Series Championship in Ghana, which involved many league players.

South Western League Results

KC Old Boys RFC 15 vs 17 Gozar RFC

Police RFC 8 vs 7 Cowrie RFC

Northern Rugby League

Kano Police RFC 45 vs 0 Plateau Bulls RFC

Barewa RFC 10 vs 0 Sabon Gari RFC