I guess we’re experiencing what I might call fans revival in Nigeria. And this year alone I can count over ten matches that saw such an overwhelming fans experience. Perhaps, in another article we might look at what are responsible for the turn around interest that got fans not only talking about upcoming games, but also going out to watch both local and continental matches.
Let us just focus here to review among other matches, the 6 most buzzed (talk about and memorable fans experience) football matches played in Nigeria this first quarter 2016.
Of course, as I always say, “football is nothing without the fans.” I am talking about the overwhelming fans attendance we experienced in the following matches:
#1. Nigeria Vs Egypt, AFCON Qualifier match played at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium Kaduna: This match turned out to be the most memorable match played in Nigeria this year.
The match saw 40, 000 fans trying to force themselves into a 20, 000 capacity stadium in Kaduna. To the extent that every roof top or elevated trees or scar folders around that can give a little glimpse of the pitch were hanged unto by desperate fans to watch the match.
As reported, almost a third of the fans couldn’t find their way into the stadium because it filled to the brim with every available space occupied.
It may be as a result of the overture campaign by the state governor who threw the stadium gate open so fans can gain access to the match without gate fees.
#2. Kano Pillars Vs Enugu Rangers, Week 1 NPFL Match at Sanni Abacha Stadium Kano: Perhaps, fans got so excited seeing the top stars Kano Pillars signed for the season and where so eager to see them play the first league game.
The turn out of fans was overwhelming. The 20, 000 capacity stadium was filled to the brim; fans yelling and cheering, created such pumps you could only experience in top class Premiership games in England.
#3. Enyimba Vs Vita’O, CAF Champions League Preliminary Match At Amasiamaka Stadium Port Harcourt: The Ariaria market in Aba was almost closed up and all road led to Port Harcourt to support Enyimba FC. The Aba Darling team had to play their home game in PH because the Enyimba International stadium was under renovation.
Despite the distance, it was like the whole of the people in Aba want to move over to PH. The 40, 000 capacity stadium was almost filled, but the media reported over 37,000 spectators in attendance.
#4. Ikorodu United Vs MFM, Week 4 NPFL Match Played at Agege Stadium Lagos: The match hash tagged #LagosDerby was such a classic experience for fans, The match did not just got the 18, 000 capacity stadium filled, but the match went viral on the internet, generating over 13, 000 tweets in 90minutes.
#5. MFM Vs Kano Pillars, Week 8 NPFL Match Played at Agege Stadium Lagos: Despite that the match was played by 7pm on a work day in Lagos, under floodlight, fans still turned out in large numbers and filled the 18, 000 capacity stadium. It was a night full of fun pepped up with classic display of skills and lots of side attractions.
#6. Fnugu Rangers Vs Enyimba, week 8 NPFL Match Played at Nnamdi Azkiwe stadium Enugu: The match tagged #Oriental Derby could be described as the Nigerian version of El Classico (Barcelona Vs Real Madrid). Rangers and Enyimba rivalry has grown to the point that it was always a fixture fans awaited to see each season.
The marmount crowd overwhelmed the 25, 000 capacity stadium and filled it to overflow. One of the reason for the more than expected turn out may be the fact that Rangers is doing so well this season and is regarded as one of the League top contenders.