By Ifeanyi Eduzor
The mini stadium of Yaba College of Technology, Lagos will on Saturday, September, 3 witness the best of grassroots football when the finals of season 18 of the annual Bishop Mike Okonkwo football competition comes to an end in the school.
The championship which will be used to herald the birthday of the presiding Bishop of “The Redeemed Evangelical Mission ( TREM) will see Aux Exclusive Media meeting G. Innovation in the finals while in the female category, it will be the turn of defending champions ,Young Talents FC and Lake Side FC with Danas Queens and Nakamura playing the third place match.
To get to the finals, G. Innovation defeated Sam Jassen by 1-0 while Aux Exclusive Media qualified for the finals following the disqualification of Dominion Hotspur for fielding 8 unregistered players in their semi-final final game which also earned them a one year ban from the competition. With this development, Sam Jassen were automatically awarded the third best team of the tournament.
Speaking on the finals, Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the championship, Deacon Malachy Ndubuzor said that all arrangements have been put in place for a successful finals just as he advised football fans to troop out in their hundreds and watch the best football artistry that will be on display.
” I’m really happy that the competition which we started some months ago is coming to an end on Saturday and as with our usual practise over the years, we promise to organise a grand finals and am appealing to football fans in Lagos and other surrounding states to troop out to Yabatech on Saturday in their thousands to watch the best grassroots football that will be full of entertainment, side attractions and excitement.
He further explained that fantastic prize monies will be won by the finalists just as he challenged the NFF and various junior national team coaches to take more interest in the longest running grassroots football tournament in the country in order to select players that will be invited to represent the country at the international level.
” This competition over the years have given out good prize monies and fantastic prizes to the finalists and this year won’t be an exemption because the sponsor, Bishop Mike Okonkwo set up the tournament as a way of empowering the youths and providing them the platform to exhibit their talents.
” It’s equally important I appeal to the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) and the various national team coaches to start showing interest in what we’re doing and I promise them they will discover one or two players that will be of interest to them”, he concluded.
Ndubuzor also charged the finalists to maintain the level of discipline and spirit of sportsmanship they have displayed in the finals since the commencement of the competition reminding them they will only be successful in the round leather game if they are disciplined and play to the rules of the game.