7th January, 2014
The Federal Capital Territory team on Tuesday in Abuja whipped favourites Lagos State 5-1 to win the 2013 NFA U-13 Football Championship and retain their title.
In the match played at the National Stadium’s FIFA Goal Project astro-turf pitch, two early goals and a total four in the first half set the tone of the game.
The tournament’s defending champions went on the right path after Ebuka Okeke got a brace in the eighth and ninth minutes.
Abdulsalam Mohammed added a third in the 15th minute with a powerful header to a corner-kick.
Team Lagos however got a consolatory goal through Hadi Haruna in the 57th minute to make it 5-1 at the end of a one-sided encounter.
Speaking later, FCT’s coach Usman Ilerika told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) his team were fully prepared and determined to beat Lagos in the final match.
“Team Lagos is a highly technical team and we respect them, but we could not afford to lose to them again.
“We lost the first game because my boys threw away a lot of scoring opportunities because they were jittery and not composed.
“But we went back to the drawing board and worked on our players’ pysche and made them understand their roles and what was at stake,’’ he said.
The coach said he was very happy to have won the trophy for the second time in a row, pointing out that no team had been able to achieve that feat.
On his part, the Lagos state team’s head coach, Shakito Giwa, told NAN he was still proud of his team’s achievements in the championship, in spite of the match’s result.
“This is our first time of participating in this tournament, and we have been able to finish second. I am indeed very happy with the performance of the boys.
“Even though our target was to take the trophy to Lagos, we are just happy to have showcased here the development programme we have in Lagos state,” the coach said.
Meanwhile, the head of the competition’s Disciplinary Committee, Ganiyu Majekodunmi, told NAN that Team Niger had been adjudged winners of the third-place match.
“This was after Katsina State was disqualified from further participating in the championship over acts of gross indiscipline exhibited by their players during their semi-final game against Lagos state,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Musa Ali of Team Lagos won the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament award.
Sunday Odey of Team FCT also won the Golden Gloves award as the best goalkeeper of the competition.