Airtel Rising Stars Tourney: South Delta Zone Wins 5 Awards

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South Delta Zone teams to the Airtel Rising Stars Tournament topped teams from other part of the country by wining most medals at the Under 17 National Championship in Lagos.

The zone, which had its centre in Port Harcourt during the Airtel open camp, won five awards to emerge the team with most category medals at the finals of the tournament. Youngsters from across the country participated in the programme.

The categories include Coach of the Tournament, Best Female Goalkeeper, Most Valuable Player (Male), Tournament Champions (Female) and Bronze Medallist (Third Place Winner).

The tournament, which was sponsored by leading telecommunication services provider, Airtel Nigeria, provided the zone the opportunity to demonstrate its dominance on the field of play. Each zone fielded both male and female teams.

The nine zones that participated at the tourney included North West, North East, North Central, North Basin, South East, South West, South Delta, Lagos metro and Lagos North with centres in Kano, Gombe, Kaduna, Jos, Owerri, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Lagos and Abeokuta respectively.

The final match in the female category was between the team from Port Harcourt Centre and the North Central team.The match lived up to expectations with the youngsters displaying high level tactical and technical competences. It however, took just ten minutes into the first half for the team from Port Harcourt centre to strike through Ibinabo Georgewell, who his team first goal.

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The Kaduna team responded with Ogebe Oya mounting serious pressure on the Port Harcourt team. Their effort finally paid off in the second half when a tap-in from Mattias Josephine brought the teams level.

With the match heading for penalty shootout, it took a midfield error before the South Delta girls could restore their lead through Ibinabo Georgewell, who scored her second goal of the match. The match was finally taken beyond the Kaduna Centre girls when Chinonye Maclean shot from a tight angle to make it 3-1 after dispossessing a defender of the ball. The situation remained the same until the centre referee, Bukola Olisa blew his whistle for the end of the thrilling match.

The South Delta female team qualified for the final after defeating Owerri 2-0 in the semi-final match played at the Campos Square.

Meanwhile, the third place match between Lagos and Port Harcourt, in the male category, ended 2-1 in favour of the team from the Port Harcourt centre. Winners of the third place match won cash awards of N300,000.

— Daniels Ekugo