*Bayelsa Government to Construct Ten New Pitches Across the State
Crusaders Feeders FC of Peretorugbene have emerged champions of the 5th edition of Nigeria’s biggest grassroots football spectacle the Bayelsa Governor’s Football Tournament christened the Prosperity Cup.
The Ekeremor side beat De Grace FC of Yenagoa 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regulation time.
Junior Christopher put Crusaders Feeders FC in front on 23 minute from a beautiful interchange of play from Moses Anthony and Ebiotu Boleigha as Junior Christopher slotted in the ball to send the jubilant Peretoru fans to celebration.
De Grace FC immediately responded in an exhilarating fashion on 26 minute but the Ekeremor side should thank their goaltender Gas Gbansele for pushing the ball away off his goal post.
Just before the break Crusaders Feeders FC almost doubled the lead from Junior Christopher’s cross but went wide as they continued to mount pressure on De Grace FC.
De Grace FC who were hoping to replicate the heroics of sister team Eternal Grace Ministry EGM FC leveled terms on 57 minute from Solohit Foluwa 20 yard left footed curled shot to restore the Church side hopes of winning the tournament.
The enterprising Crusaders Feeders FC did not relent in their possessive and attacking football but both sides were careful not to concede to stretch the game into penalties.
Earlier in the women’s final Golden Sun Sports Academy spanked Crystal Stars FC 3-0 to win the maiden women’s Prosperity Cup trophy.
Declaring the tournament closed, Bayelsa State Governor Senator Douye Diri, said the tournament was in celebration of talents, passion and the unifying power of football, noting that he was proud of the players, officials and organizers for the incredible organizations of the competition.
He commended them for the sacrifices and dedication throughout the tournament, saying that the sacrifices made by the fans were the reason behind the peaceful tournament.
While congratulating Crusaders Feeders FC for their triumph, Governor Diri lauded the 214 teams for the show of dexterity and their unflinching commitment, extending his appreciation to those involved in the smooth organizations of the competition.
He noted that the organizers’ meticulous planning and execution has ensured that the Prosperity Cup 2023 was a resounding success, adding that the tournament has also served as a platform to showcase the potential and talents Bayelsa youths possess.
The helmsman pointed out that with continuous investment and support that talents discovered in the tournament would be the next super stars in the country describing Bayelsa as the hub of sports in Nigeria.
He particularly thanked the partners and sponsors as well as individuals for the involvement in the tournament, especially Linkage Assurance PLC, Sterling Bank, Bayelsa Board of Internal Revenue, Century Oil Group and Ayilla Water for the support.
Governor Diri asserted that the Prosperity administration would soon embark in the construction of ten new pitches across the eight local governments as venues to host Prosperity Cup in the future and other grassroots football tournament
He frowned at the nonchalant attitude of International Oil Companies IOCs and multinational Oil companies operating in the State failure to invest in sports, stressing that he was shocked that among the partners mentioned no oil company was involved.
In a remark, President of Nigeria Football Federation, Mr Ibrahim Guasu appreciated the governor for engaging the minds of youths in Bayelsa in the last one month, pointing out that the tournament has added value to the youths.
He noted that Nigeria Football Federation would work hand in glove with the Bayelsa State government to ensure that NFF scouts are involved in the tournament as a way of exposing the youths in the state.
Earlier in an address of welcome, Director General of the Prosperity Cup Mr Ono Akpe, said over 5000 thousand players and 400 hundred officials took part in the spectacle,adding that soonest, the Prosperity Cup will become the most popular grassroot football competition in Africa.
Champions Crusaders Feeders FC were awarded a trophy and five million naira for their victory, second place De Grace FC of Yenagoa received Two Million Five hundred Thousand Naira, third place team, Agbere FC of Sagbama went home with one point Five Million Naira, while fourth place, Dream Boys Academy of Odi Kolokuma/Opokuma, received five hundred thousand naira.
Present at the closing ceremony were, Senator Representing Bayelsa Central, Senator Konbowei Benson, Secretary to the State Government, Alabo Gideon Ekeuwei, Chairman Civil Service Commission Mr Perekiye Buruboyefe, Chairman Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission (BYSIEC) Sir Dr Peter Singabele, commissioner for Youths and Sports Development Chief Daniel.
Members of the State executive council, members of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, LGA’S Caretaker chairmen, political appointees and other stakeholders.
Others are NFF Technical Director Augustine Eguavoen, Nigeria National League NNL chairman George Aluo, NNL Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Attah and Chief Operating Officer Emmanuel Adesanya and Monday Odigie Bendel Insurance coach.