By Sedara Philip
A goal in each half by Emmanuel Ogbole and Abubakar Choku Junior were all Shooting Stars FC of Lafia needed to emerge champions of the maiden Abashi Unity Cup Grassroots Football Tournament, 2023.
A highly entertaining encounter saw Shooting Stars taking the lead over Atakura FC, courtesy of Ogbole’s acrobatic strike prior to the end of the First-Half.
The Millionaires’ Quarters’ boys increased their lead, fifteen minutes into the restart as Abubakar Choku Junior capitalized on a defensive frailty inside the opponents’ danger zone, a result they guarded jealously till regulation time to win the feisty finale decided at the Government Science School Football Field, Lafia, on Friday evening.
An impressed Permanent Secretary, Nasarawa State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Barr. Isaac Danladi, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the finale, presented the gigantic trophy to the champions amidst wild jubilation among fans of the Club.
Dunoma FC won the 3rd-place play-off following a 1-0 narrow victory over St. Jame’s Stars FC.
Thirty-two teams within Lafia Local Council Area Kick-started the tournament on 22nd May, 2023.
Medals of Honour were presented to the Permanent Secretary and other invited dignitaries as well as consolation prizes and individual awards to players who distinguished themselves in the Championship.
Speaking shortly after the game, sponsor of the Championship and Administrative Officer at the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nasarawa State Command, Monday Abashi, said the need to unravel the hidden potentials in the youth necessitated the hosting of the tournament.
He noted that the talents on display at the Championship provided an ambience for scouts and agents to locate talents for better exposure and further development.
Abashi said the competition would be an annual tournament in order to meet the target.
Also, Member representing Lafia Central at the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Hon. Solomon Yakubu Akwashiki, congratulated the new Champions for their achievement.
He said in such setting, there is neither victor nor vanquished as both sides displayed excellent football talents and finesse to the admiration of the spectators.
The House Member commended the sponsor for actualizing the initiative, adding that he would join forces with him in subsequent editions to add colour and flair.
The State legislator disclosed his passion for sports, especially football, stating that he would support any bill in the Assembly that would aid the growth and development of sports and youth in the State.