ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — The two Nigerian soccer teams each figured it needed a big win in the final round at an amateur tournament to outdo the other and earn promotion to the country's professional leagues.
Plateau United Feeders' and Police Machine's victories were certainly big: 79-0 and 67-0.
The results have sparked outrage, an indefinite suspension of the four clubs involved in the games, and an investigation into match-fixing by the Nigeria Football Federation.
On Tuesday, the NFF called the scores from Monday's tournament in the northeastern city of Bauchi "a mind-boggling show of shame."
"The teams involved, their players and officials, match officials, (tournament) coordinator and anyone found to have played some role in this despicable matter (will) be severely dealt with," NFF director of competitions Mohammed Sanusi said.
Chasing a place in Nationwide League Division 3, Nigeria's lowest professional league, Plateau United Feeders reportedly scored 72 of their goals against Akurba FC in the second half — a rate of more than a goal a minute. In fact, a goal about every 40 seconds. Non-stop for 45 minutes.
At the same time, Police Machine reportedly scored 61 times against Babayaro FC in the second half.
Based on those scores, Plateau United Feeders would have won promotion to the big leagues with 81 goals — in three games. Police Machine ultimately could manage only 69.
Plateau and Police won their opening games 2-0, then tied 0-0 when they met in the second round, meaning goals would be the decisive factor for promotion if both won their finales.
They got the goals they wanted.
And a suspension and a match-fixing investigation.
"This is a scandal of huge proportions," NFF vice president Mike Umeh said. "The four teams involved are suspended immediately and indefinitely, pending further sanctions. We will investigate this matter thoroughly and get to the bottom of it."