Photo: Teams and officials before the commencement of play at Old Township Stadium Complex, Owerri
By Everest Ezihe, Owerri
Owerri, the capital of Imo State is agog again, barely one week after the completion of the State off season governorship election, following the commencement of the crowd pulling Eastern Unity Football Cup competition.
This one week maiden competition that started last Saturday at Old Township Stadium, Tetlow Road Owerri is being organized under the auspices of Collective Hope and Light-Hearted Youth Empowerment Association, as part of the programs marking the 12th memorial day of Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, Ikemba Nnewi by the members of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB and Biafra Independent Movement, BIM coming up on Sunday 26th November, 2023 at Ojukwu Memorial Library Complex, New Owerri, Imo State.
According to Hon. Kenneth Chukwuemeka, the Chairman Organizing Committee, the competition is spurred by the need to ensure the enhancement and sustainability of unity of purpose among Easterners as well as harness the football budding talents of her youths and channelled it towards their benefits and that of the society.
Chukwuemeka expressed worries that due to lack of job opportunities and idleness, most youths have sold their conscience to the devil by engaging in anti social vices and canvassed the need to redirect them through sporting activities especially, football which he said is presently a serious business and the language the youths like to hear.
He lamented that the multi Million Naira competition is being financed through the collective efforts of young patriotic individuals and passionately solicited on the need for wealthy individuals and corporate bodies to come to their aid.
However, the first march of the competition was between Staro FC, Owerri and Obu – Gad FC of Anambra in which Lady Calista Amagbo, as the major sponsor excellently took the kick off at the admiration of the spectators.
The game lived up to its bidding as both teams displayed the best of football artistry and skills despite the fact that the ungrassed sandy pitch was a minus to free flow of the game.
However, the players showed resilience and dedication to the game as Staro FC that was leading 4-1 bearing 15 minutes to the end of the second half due to youthful excitement, collapsed their mid field and defense wall prompting hard working and enterprising Obu – Gad FC to seamlessly earned mind bugling equalizer that made the spectators to stand still.
Since the competition is on knock out basis and a winner must emerge, both teams went into penalty shoot out, however Staro FC graciously maintained the led by 4 – 2, against the expectation of most of the fans.
About 12 teams registered for the competition that includes Oriental FC of Abia South, Udi Lions FC of Enugu West, Gallant FC of Enugu West, Sunset FC of Ebonyi, Young Hero FC of Abia Central and Eastern Pride of Anioma, Delta State.
Others are Sunrise FC of Ebonyi North, Ikot Ekpene FC of Akwa Ibom State, Rising Sun FC of Umuaka Njaba, Unity FC of Orji River and Ebenezer De Great FC of Rivers State.