The police and some officials of the Canada Soccer Federation and the BC Place Stadium stewards forcefully removed the bands, drums and some Nigerian supporters (especially those playing the drums) from the stadium where they were supporting the Super Falcons of Nigeria during their friendly game against the Canada Women National Team at the BC Place Stadium, Vancouver. In the process, they manhandled one Nigerian-Canadian man who have lived for over 20 years in Canada. We witnessed this before oue eyes and it was so sad. The President of Nigeria Association of BC protested but the officials had their way. The President said they did exactly same thing in 2016 when Nigeria played USA in the Women’s World Cup. I mean, who does not see supporters drumming and singing even in World Cup proper.
A white chap sitting close to the drummers was said to have called police to complain of noise and for them to be removed from the stadium. A PURE ACT OF RACISM by Canada officials. Even inside the stadium, Canadian supporters were seen making noise all over and with all manner of instruments, yet no one forced them out. During games involving the home MLS team, Vancouver Whitecaps, at the same stadium, drums are used by home supporters. Stadium is synonymous with noise from fan. It’s never a cemetry or any other solemn place. Why force out the Nigeria Supporters drums from BC Place Stadium for a mere friendly? What will you do in a competitive game? WE SAY NO TO RACISM IN SPORTS!
We commend Nigerian Football federation and other people involved for getting Grade A friendlies for the Super Falcons. However, having 17 players (out of which three are goalkeepers) is not good for such a game. Injury to Onome Ebi, Chiamaka Nnadozie and Rita Chikwelu left us without many options and so our overall game suffered. If the foreign based players cannot make the trip, what happened to travelling with enough home based players who also need the exposure? The likes of Grace Igboamalu and other good domestic players should be available for such trips.
I will also commend all our ladies who gave a good account of themselves nowithstanding. They matched Canada ladies, the Olympic champions, toe to toe especially in the first half despite the intimidating home crowd. Captain Ebi stood tall at the defence. As ever, goalkeeper Nnadozie was imposing. Ashleigh Plumptre was dependable in the heart of the defence. Ogbonna Akudo was promising in the defence too. Toni Payne was commanding the right flank pacing up and down, same as her sister Nicole Payne on the left flank. Rashedat Ajibade was the midfield maestro and riffled powerful shots, one of them forcing their keeper to a great save. Chikwelu and Christy Ucheibe were solid in midfield. Ify Onumonu and Uchenna Kanu made runs that kept their defence troubled. Goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi gave a good account of herself when she came in. So also were Michelle Alozie and Onyi Echegini who both forced their keeper to make saves with long range efforts. Amanda Mbadi also made her mark. Kudos too to Peace Efih and Yewande Balogun. The game ended 2:0 in favor of Canada but our ladies sure were not disgraced. Home fans were all over Plumtre, Toni Payne and others after the game.
Canada were not such a good host and damned all established match protocols. Fine, they wanted to use the game to celebrate their team for winning the Olympics. What happened to doing that well before the game and then having the team file out with Nigeria? They first called out their team, celebrated them and whilst they were already on the pitch, they made the Nigerian team to file out alone to meet their team already celebrating on the pitch. An awkward sight and a mark of disrespect. Super Falcons of Nigeria are 9 times African Champions. They are one of the teams to have appeared in ALL the editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. You do not invite them to ridicule them!
The big screen in the stadium had Canada vs Nigeria with Canada boldly written and Nigeria written in very small fonts. When the team sheets were announced, they refused to show the Nigerian team on the screen and only showed their team. Throughout the game, they refused to capture the Nigerian fans on the big screen. Who does that? There were no less than 500 Nigerians living in Vancouver that showed up at BC Place and seated at the spot allocated to the away team supporters. Such a poor host, Canada!