The Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) is launching an investigation over two matches that remarkably featured 187 goals. Yes, that’s right, two games with 187 goals.
On Sunday, two second-tier matches in the west African country saw Kahunla Rangers secure a mind-blowing 95-0 triumph over Lumbebu United, while Gulf FC annihilated Koquima Lebanon in a 91-1 win.
According to BBC Sport, the pair of victories are the two biggest winning margins in the history of Sierra Leonean football and rank highly amongst the most one-sided scorelines that the sport has ever seen.
The most widely-accepted world record surrounds a 149-0 win by Madagascar’s AS Adema where their opponents, Stade Olymique L’Emyrne, scored 149 own goals in protest over a refereeing decision.
However, the situation in Sierra Leone is made all the more head-spinning by the fact that the half-time scores were only 2-0 and 7-1 respectively, which means second-half chaos of 93-0 and 84-0. Seriously.
Both matches have now been annulled due to suspicions of match manipulation.
SLFA president Thomas Daddy Brima told BBC Africa: “We can’t stand by and see an embarrassing situation like this go unpunished. We’re going to launch an immediate investigation and bring to book all those responsible for this mediocrity.
“All those found guilty will be dealt with in accordance with the SLFA laws, and will also be handed over to the country’s anti-corruption commission.”
The SLFA also said that they would investigate the players from all four clubs as well as the match officials and Eastern Region Football Association, insisting that the organisation ‘maintains zero tolerance’ for match manipulation.
Kahunla and Gulf FC were level on points going into the final round of matches and were battling it out for Eastern Region’s last remaining place in the national Super 10 League, which is the final qualifying stage for the country’s Premier League.
The two astonishingly high-scoring games were played at the same time with the referee in the Gulf FC match refusing to officiate the second-half, leading to his replacement.
The BBC explains that “things took a dramatic turn over the course of the second halves when it became clear that the team with the better goal difference would go through,” as the latter 45 minutes saw 177 of the total 187 goals scored.
Those involved speak out
The chief executive officer of Kahunla, Eric Kaitell, came out on social media to criticise his team, as well as the other three clubs, for the unbelievable scorelines.
“I want to start by apologising to the football fans in the country and the world at large for the odd match result of my club Kahunla Rangers,” Kaitell stated. “I want to state firmly that I strongly condemn such unsportsmanlike behaviour displayed by my team, and the other teams involved.
“I’m setting up a committee to investigate the whole team including the technical staff and the executive members, and whoever is found wanting will be dealt with accordingly.”
Meanwhile, the general manager of Lumbebu, Mohamed Jan Saeid Jalloh, protested his side’s innocence during the 95-0 defeat in which he stood in as coach and saw three of his players sent off.
“I’m not aware of any match manipulation but can’t vouch for others,” Jalloh told BBC Sport Africa. “We conceded lots of goals in the second half. I was frustrated and at some point even left the touchline in anger. I wasn’t concentrating afterwards, so I can’t even tell how many goals we conceded in all.
“I’ll never be part of match fixing. I’m calling on the football authorities to investigate both matches and bring to book anyone found wanting. And if nobody is found guilty of any crime then so be it.”
The confusion doesn’t end there, though, because the chairman of Koquima Lebanon, Mohamed Lanfia Tunkara, claimed that the catastrophic 91-1 scoreline was actually from a friendly match.
Tunkara said that he had been told by his players and club officials that the league game against Gulf FC never actually took place.
Rather, the match was apparently contested between “players in the community, including some Koquima players,” in order to “entertain fans who had bought tickets to witness their match with Gulf FC”.
And breathe. It really does make for a jaw-dropping, confounding and utterly unique series of events to which we can only say one thing at this stage: make of it what you will.