The final match which was a cracker lived up to its quality as Ikot Udo beat hard fighting Ikot Amba by a slim 1-0 margin in the presence of a mammoth crowed that thronged the Use Abat primary school pitch to witness good football.
Proceedings began explosively with both sides thrilling the crowd with good play. However, Ikot Udo players had the upper hand in ball control and technical depth looking more desirous of a curtain which paid off early in the 12th minute courtesy of Daniel Dominic’s free kick which was a blasting grounder that sped into the right side of the net.
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The second half was a show of skills by both sides who seldom threatened each other until the game ended 1-0 with Ikot Udo emerging champions to cart home the N1.5m naira prize money from the organizers while the first runners-up, Ikot Amba and second runners-up, Ikot Edet had N1m naira and N800,000 respectively.
Presenting the trophy and medals to the teams, the tournament financier and proprietor of Vandrezzer FC who play in the Nigeria National League, Joe Udofia said that he chose to float the tournament with the aim of promoting grassroots youth football, encourage the youths to believe in themselves and chart a career for them in football in future while charging football administrators in the country to run football with fairness and honesty.
Udofia, flanked by his wife Uchechi, also commended the youths for their good spirit and discipline throughout the one month duration of the tournament.
One of the highlights of the occasion featured the announcement that Vandrezzer Energy Services Ltd had acquired a slot to play in the Nigeria Nationwide League NLO (added to Vandrezzer FC in the NNL). This according to Udofia, was to ensure that some select players from the grassroot tournament have an immediate offload point , and will make up the club which will serve as feeder for Vandrezzer FC.
Also, there was the award of N500, 000 cash to the village head of Use Ikot Odiong, Chief Sunday Essien Bassey for a show of honesty and integrity. Chief Bassey had refused to accede to the demand of the team from his own village to falsely testify that the hired players from outside fielded by his team were bona fide sons of the village. For standing by the truth, his village team was disqualified from the tournament. This earned him the cash award from the tournament financier who thanked him for his good character while charging Nigerians to emulate such conduct at all times.
Innocent Thomas from the winning team won the golden boot with four goals; Best Goalkeeper was
Donald Fabian Walters; Most valuable player was Daniel Dominic Akpan, who also won a call – up to Vandrezzer FC. Best Behaved Team was
Ikot Akpan Atai, Best coach was
Ephraim Raphael Okon of Ikot Udo.
Present at the tournament were dignitaries across that nation including Emmanuel Ibah, NFF Exco member/Chairman Akwa Ibom State FA, Shola Ogunnowo, Chief Operating Officer of the Nigeria Nationwide League, Sports Business guru Nkechi Obi, Assistant Inspector-General of police, Zone 6 Zaki Ahmed, A.I.G Zabairu Muazu, members of the political class, oil industry magnates, friends, village heads, management of Vandrezzer FC & Vandrezzer Energy Services, among others.
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