The season 19 of the annual Bishop Mike Okonkwo football tournament came to a successful end at the weekend with Sam Jasson Fc emerging the new champion of the most popular and credible grassroots football competition in the country after defeating Team 360 by 2-0.
Sam Jasson who are no strangers to the competition and have came third twice where the better side in a keenly contested finals decided at the Yaba College of Technology mini-stadium Lagos.
The team handled by Alfred Onoke got the curtain raiser through a penalty in the first minutes of the encounter before putting the game beyond the reach of their opponents at the dying minutes of the second half to ensure they emerge winners of the prestigious competition.
In the female category, defending champions, Young Talent 99 Fc retained the title after defeating Dynamic Queens 3-1, making it the fifth time they’re winning the competition.
Presenting trophies and medals to the winning teams, Bishop Mike Okonkwo commended all the teams that participated in the tournament for exhibiting the spirit of sportsmanship and fair play throughout the duration of the tournament even as he gave kudos to the Local Organising Committee of the tournament for doing a good job.
The Man of God expressed happiness that his vision of starting the competition which involves giving youths a platform to exhibit their talents and to keep them off crime and other social vices has been achieved.
He assured that next year’s edition will be more glamorous as it will mark two decades of beginning the competition.
Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Deacon Malachy Ndubuzor while giving glory to God for a successful completion of the competition challenged the country’s football house to start taking interest in grassroots football tournament; saying that talents abound there.
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” I’m excited that we were able to organise a successful tournament not minding the economic downturn which the country is facing that made us have an abridged championship .
“It’s important that I appeal to the NFF and junior national team handlers to start paying attention to what we’re doing because a lot of talented players can be discovered here.
” During the time of the former NFF board, the Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi attended our finals and I expect the present board led by Ibrahim Gusau to follow suit as that will encourage us to do more for the development of the country’s football “, he said.
At the end of the tournament, Esther Ajakaye of Young Talent 99 Queens who scored five goals in the championship and Sam Jasson’s skipper, Chima Nwafor won the Most Valuable Players ( MVP) and fair play award. They were presented with a plague and N50,000 respectively.