UIMSA’s Ulympics – A Final With No Winner

After a breathtaking semifinal round between four classes, Panthers (500 level) and Oka (400 level) advanced to the finals having knocked out Impeccabilem (200 level) and Excelsior (600 level) respectively. The match was scheduled to be held on the evening of Thursday 23rd March, 2023.

Due to circumstances beyond the players’ control, the match started a bit later than the scheduled kick-off time which was 4 pm. The players played vigorously and squabbled a few times due to unsatisfied referee calls and questionable fouls. Spectators and core supporters also kept the match lively with their shouts from the stands. The match went goalless at half-time and the players were given five minutes rest.

The second half started promptly and both teams went on to fight for a goal, hoping to clinch the gold medal by preventing an equalizer from the opponents. However, the tie was not broken until the full-time whistle.

Note: The rule is to proceed into extra time lasting ten minutes per half to break the tie, before penalty shootouts.

Considering the time of the day when the referee blew the full-time whistle, proceeding into extra time was looking somewhat impossible and he needed to break the ‘rule’ to move into penalties, of course after getting the approval of the necessary authorities and organizers. The referee made his way to the sidelines, calling on the chairman of the sport planning committee who doubles as UIMSA’s sport secretary. He explained the situation to the chairman and urged him to invite the captains and coaches of both teams for them to reach an agreement.

The guys were summoned and a decision was made between five minutes which was clear to the spectators that the match was going into penalty shootouts. The captains and coaches moved to the sidelines trying to decide the penalty takers and have a word together within themselves. Not too long, a disagreement ensued from the 400-level class opting to go into extra time, going by the rules of the game.

The atmosphere was in confusion as everyone thought both parties already agreed to play the penalties until the captain of the 400-level class made a claim that he was not involved in the discussion with the referee.

‘After normal time of football, the coach signaled to me to come. I came along with a player (not the captain, because it was not specifically stated to even come with anyone). After listening to the referee’s explanation, I agreed to go on with the penalties. I went on to deliver the update to my players which they all rejected.’
The Coach of the 400-level football team

Apparently, he said he was represented by the coach and that ‘agreement’ came to his notice of which he expressed his displeasure immediately. This takes us back to the shouts of disagreement from the 400-level class. Arguments went on and on between the referee, players, supporters, and authorities for a long while. Executives like the president and her vice had to intervene at some point to create a ‘meeting point’ for both classes but all were to no avail.

Arguments took the route of establishing why the match started later than usual and the concerned players expressed their tight schedules from classes and practical labs.

‘We are all medical students here. Each set is being “choked up” with school activities. My class is preparing for arguably the hardest MB in medical school (in terms of pass rate). Our MB is merely 4 weeks away. So it’s not like we’re also less busy and have all the time to play games.’
From the 400-level class.

The 400-level class kept their stance that disagreement was not the way out and the time for that could have been spent on the extra time as stated in the rule. They proposed coming back to play the extra time and penalties (possibly) the next morning as rescheduling was not supposed to be an issue, considering the fact that it has happened for a few games beforehand.

‘On rescheduling the extra time of match – it’s quite surprising that this is an issue now. When at this same health week we’ve had nothing less than 3 different sport/game competition postponed due to one reason or another – chess, scrabbles and basketball. The scrabble started and the other rounds were postponed due to power outage. A first round match between 2k21 and 2k18 was even postponed – with no issues. The basketball match was played up till the 2nd quarter and was postponed to early morning the next day for the 3rd quarter.’

The 500-level class also kept their stance that the day is too dark to extend into extra time, there are no substitutions, and some players are fasting as regards the Ramadan period. Due to inability to reach an agreement, the 500-level class coach expressed the team’s unavailability to show up for any match after that evening as they have exams, medical postings, and practicals in front of them.

The statement from the 500-level class:
‘Considering our postings, and in the best interest of the welfare of our players, we cannot be available for any replay of the match within the next three or four weeks.’

The 400-level class also refused to proceed to penalties right away which made the match inconclusive. Players from both teams made their way out of the already scattered pitch in disagreement while murmuring what they felt should have been the best idea.

At the time of this writing, the classes are still at loggerheads and it seems that we won’t get gold and silver medalists from the football competition. While we await the response of the Sports Committee on the way forward. It must be noted that the planning of these games have been substandard and a lot needs to be looked into for the next UIMSA competitions.

Peter Adeyemo.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *