Nigeria’s Ocean Boys attacked before Sharks match

Reuters, Sunday 29 Apr 2012

Sunday's attack is the latest in a series of football-related violence that has seen spectators assault referees and supporters invading the pitch to target visiting players

The assistant coach and a defender of visiting soccer club Ocean Boys were taken to hospital in serious condition after being attacked in the dressing room ahead of a league game with local side Sharks, officials said.

Two other team members were bruised and bloodied in the attack, they said.

"We were in the dressing room preparing to warm-up when their fans entered and attacked us," Ocean Boys media officer Eddy Ohis said.

Officials said assistant coach Timi Akosubo and defender Anthony Nwodo were in a serious condition. The Premier League game was called off.

The attack was the latest incident in a growing spiral of violence in the professional game in the west African country, which has included attacks on referees by spectators and crowd invasions of pitches in which visiting players are targeted.

There was widespread condemnation of Sunday's incident but the Nigerian Premier League (NPL) said it was waiting for a report before commenting.

Philip Obaji of the 'Football without Violence' campaign said: ""Such a situation is unacceptable. This is an attack not only on innocent people but on the image of the NPL and we call for a full investigation and holding those responsible to account."

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