Spectacular Performance As G.innovation Wins MOFC 2022
It was spectacular finals watched by an impressive and engaged crowd, including the visionary, Dr Mike Okonkwo, his wife, Bishop Peace Okonkwo and ex-international, Ifeanyi Udeze, right inside the football pitch of the Yaba College of Technology.
In the male final, G. Innovation took home the valued trophy after defeating Aux Exclusive Media by 4-3 via penalties after the two teams had given good accounts of themselves scoring 1-1 at regulation time.
Earlier the females had also resorted to a penalty shootout in which defending champions, Young Talents 99 FC scored 4 goals as against 2 scored by Lake Side FC..
In fact, the latter had won many hearts on the stands, by coming 0-2 down to level up scores thereby dragging the game into penalties.
On the two occasions, there was no doubt that the best actually warmed up to the finals.
In lifting the cup, the G. Innovation football club proved its mettle as the Conquistadors, as it is otherwise known. It showed tenacity even though the game seemed to be going the other way initially.
Its crowd of supporters including one who simply identified herself as Yinka said they were happy that supporting the team was not in vain.
Both teams went on the offensive at the blast-off of proceedings, winning and losing advantages but it was G. Innovation’s forward Femi who drew the first blood, scoring the game’s opener in the 29th minute of the first half. The crowd responded by applauding the goal having waited enthusiastically.
Thereafter, the two teams kept the spectators, depending on where their loyalty lay, to shout and applaud. Every bit of the play had something to offer to the crowd watching, and this was capped when continuous attack of Aux Exclusive Media led to an equaliser in the 72nd minute, the score remained 1-0 in favor of the Conquistadors.
And since the score was a tie, the game proceeded directly to the penalty shootout. To win the game 5-4, the G-Innovation guys made all of their field goals.
Team inspiration, Chigozie Nwagwu was beside himself with joy following the feat of his boys in a balanced encounter that also kept the two commentators shouting themselves hoarse just to enable spectators follow the proceedings.
But when a clear winner could not emerge at regulation time, and extra time, the game had to to into penalties, which ended in G.Innovation winning Aux Exclusive Media FC 5-4 on penalties
Bishop Mike Okonkwo who had his wife, Bishop Peace Okonkwo, also a lover of football by his side, was more than excited.
He commended the two teams for their display, urging the losing teams not to be disappointed having given their best.
He expressed satisfaction that the competition was fulfilling its purpose in the lives of youngsters, and also promised to sustain it.
“I’m highly impressed with what I saw today and the football artistry displayed by the various teams which is an indication that the tournament has grown and we’ll continue to sponsor it as it has not only helped the youths exhibit their talents but has also served as vehicle of empowerment to them”.
Picking out the Local Organising Committee for commendation, he said:
“Kudos must also go the LOC for putting up a world class tournament and I hope that next year’s edition will be more glamorous”.
Chairman of the LOC, Deacon Malachy Ndubuzor who obviously did a fantastic job had earlier given a background, expressed happiness that the tournament which was put on hold because of COVID-19 Pandemic has bounced back.
” It’s a thing of joy that we had another successful tournament which is coming after the Pandemic. I am particularly happy that all the teams played according to the rules of the game and I say a big thank you to Bishop Mike Okonkwo for using the tournament to empower the youth.
” I also want to use this opportunity to once more call on football administrators and various national team coaches in the country to compliment our effort by taking interest in the tournament because it has produced and continue to produce quality players”, he concluded.
Azeez Balogun received the best goalie award, Uche Ogbonna won the competition’s MVP, and Olamilekan Abdulrasaq Musa was named the best coach. It was also a day for the three of G-Innovation to receive their just rewards.
Club owner Chigozie Nwagwu also reacted by thanking God for his team’s triumph during the post-match interaction with reporters.
“We’re grateful to God for His grace and favour upon this team,” he remarked. “I must tell you, it wasn’t an easy game. But my boys were resilient and determined to win the cup. I also say a big congratulations to the technical crew and the entire management of the team. This is the result of commitment and hardwork,” Nwagwu stated gleefully.
He continued by praising the organisers for holding an almost faultless competition in terms of officiating, organization, and competition-day discipline.
The Eagle observes that the competition has continued to grow in popularity and in impact on young ones since inception.
The sheer number of teams who show interest in the competition, and the impressive crowd of spectators underscore the point indeed that there is a future for grassroots football in the country. It also acknowledges the great work that Bishop Mike Okonkwo and his foot soldiers led by Dcn Malachy Ndubuzor are doing.