This is a tribute to Kano Pillars, who sent out what Sola Aiyepeku the SA to Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, called ‘the Tweet of the Year’ following their 4-0 loss to Shooting Stars of Ibadan in a Nigeria Professional Football League game.
Sai Masu Gida! is the battle cry of Kano Pillars supporters, the cry that turned their Kano home into a fortress that could not be breached for many years, as they recorded victory after victory in the ancient city, year after year. That run ended when they lost at home, first to Nasarawa United and then Enyimba. But on the 28th of April 2016, that cry rang loudest when Pillars recorded the biggest home victory in their history; a 6-0 whitewash of Shooting Stars of Ibadan.
Fast forward to four months later, on the 28th of August 2016, the roles were reversed as the Oluyole Warriors repeated what Enugu Rangers did on the 28th of April 2013, and handed Pillars a 4-0 bashing in a result Ibadan fans playfully explained away: “you spelled I-B-A-D-A-N, we spelled K-A-N-O, and equation is balanced”! But beyond the history, pertinent lessons must be noted from this event:
The tweets sent out by Kano Pillars during the game, capped by the one reproduced above, ensured that their fans back home were aware there was no monkey business going on despite the goals they were conceding, Kano Pillars showed good sportsmanship. This is crucial to a further development of our league.
Pillars thanked Shooting Stars for their ‘hospitality’. This means: a) They were well received by Ibadan fans who had been properly educated by their management that the 6-0 loss was free and fair, or b) Pillars deliberately played down any pre-game threats, whichever it is, both teams displayed a maturity that will ensure future peace. We desperately need to promote this!
Finally, the Kano Pillars Twitter handle has a permanent banner that firmly says their fans, players and management are strictly against violence, pinned to that page. ALL teams in the NPFL must emulate this.
Nigeria football is at crossroads, we all must work together and ensure our arenas are family-friendly and violence free. That is the only way we can contribute to the growth of the game!