Men and football have been best of friend from generations to generations and stopping them from having fun with their sport is quite impossible.
Nigerians mourn the shocking demise of football fans who were electrocuted at a football match viewing centre at Nyaghassang Community, Calabar Municipality of Cross River State.
Two widows of the victims lamented that they tried everything within their power to prevent them from going to the viewing centre on the tragic day.
One of the widows, Mrs. Elizabeth Alex Samuel, a mother of a year-old child said that if her late husband, Mr. Samuel, had taken to her constant advice, and warning, perhaps he wouldn’t have died at the viewing centre that fateful night.
Narrating her ordeal, ThisDay reports that Mrs. Samuel, who was carrying her child, said,
“Every day I warned him not to watch football in that viewing centre. That night, he went to watch football. The next thing I heard shouting and they said people have died. I was waiting I did not see him. I heard they had rushed him to the hospital. I was crying throughout. It was yesterday (Friday) they came and told me that my husband was dead”.
Another grieving woman who gave her name as Mary Okon said her husband, Mr. Emmanuel Okon, lost his life to the incident. Mary said she tried to stop her late husband from going to the viewing centre that night because she wanted him to eat, and stay at home with the family.
“I was boiling rice for him and then he decided to go and watch the match. I told him to stay back and eat but he said I should come and meet him when it was ready. When the incident happened I went there to look for him and when I found him he was not moving. There were bodies lying on the floor everywhere. I carried him with the help of his nephew, but he was not responding. His body was cold. With the help of a neighbour who is a taxi man, we carried him to the hospital where we were told he was dead,” she said, while sobbing.
Also speaking, Godswill Okon, a nephew to the late woman’s husband said:
“That evening, me and my uncle were just joking about the match. He is a Man U fan and I am a Chelsea fan. So, we were playfully arguing, and I told him Man U will lose. He said no way that they would win. So, when it was time for the match, he called me to go with him and watch, but I felt somehow and decided not to go.
“Normally, I would have been there to watch the game, but I suddenly did not feel too well. People were even surprised that I did not go to watch. It was while we were at home that we heard the noise, and we went out; and I got there and saw my uncle dead. My uncle was a very loving and kind person. He was the one who was taking care of me. My school fees, accommodation, feeding, clothes, everything. I don’t know what I would do now that he is gone. Who would come to our help?”, he lamented.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, expressing his condolences, yesterday called for investigation into the unfortunate incident which led to the death of football fans in the Calabar viewing centre.
The police had confirmed that no fewer than seven persons watching the Europa League match between Manchester United and Anderlecht football clubs died by electrocution on Thursday.