Dada-Luke Suspended For Two Games, Will Miss Rest Of CPL Playoffs
To say that things boiled over following Pacific’s playoff win over coastal rivals Halifax Wanderers would be an understatement: two red cards were issued after a clash of the two squads, with Doniel Henry and Kunle Dada-Luke both on the receiving end.
We’ve now confirmed that Dada-Luke’s suspension will count for two matches, meaning that the Pacific full-back would miss the 2023 CPL Final should Pacific book a ticket to it. The club – which has beaten both York United and the Halifax Wanderers on their road to the final – are now just one game away from their second ever CPL championship final, with only Cavalry FC left in the way.
Dada-Luke had actually booted Cavalry out of the playoffs back in 2021 through a controversial extra time goal, so the fans at Spruce Meadows will be pleased about his absence – though what led to his post-game red card remains mired in mystery.
One thing is certain: therewas plenty of fury at the final whistle, with an online video post suggesting that Kunle Dada-Luke made some inappropriate gestures in the direction of Halifax Wanderers fans. Whatever happened in the build-up, Daniel Nimick and a flurry of Wanderers were quick to impose themselves on the full-back in what soon became a full-team scrum.
“There was somebody on the opposition team who did something that a couple of our players didn’t like, and truthfully-speaking if I had seen it I wouldn’t have liked it either,” Halifax captain Mo Omar had said after the match, allegedly about Dada-Luke, though he wouldn’t disclose the player nor what had occurred. “If you’re going to come in here, come to our home field, and do some things to our fans that you probably shouldn’t do, we’re not going to take that lightly and we’re going to make that clear.”
Dada-Luke’s goading of the home fans appears to have become the second player celebration to lead to trouble this year, with Cavalry’s earlier goal celebration in Ottawa – which led to an altercation with Ottleti fans – having seen the league put out an internal memo ensuring those kind of moments wouldn’t happen again.
The Canada Soccer Disciplinary Committee has handed Kunle Dada-Luke a two-match ban, so if the suspension stands his season will have concluded. To that end, however, Pacific has told us that they’ve appealed his suspension.
The 23-year-old has been a mainstay for James Merriman’s side this year, featuring in all but one match – and that was due to a head injury. Should the suspension hold, Pacific FC will march on without Kunle Dada-Luke as they travel to Spruce Meadows to face Cavalry FC on Saturday.
Photo Credit: Trevor MacMillan