It was a celebration of skills, sportsmanship and entertainment as the grand finale of the Hauwa Atiku-Uwais 5-Aside Soccer Tournament was played at the sports centre inside Kurudu Army Estate. Teams from neighbouring suburbs (Nyanya, Mararaba, Karu, Jikwoyi, Kpegyi and Kurudu) converged for the week-long football fiesta and there was no shortage of excitement as the clubs battled for the grand prize of 100,000 naira, bragging rights and the gold-plated trophy.
Played from 21st-28th of November 2020, the championship sought to enlighten young people in the suburbs about the dangers of political violence, vote selling, and the beauty of responsible youth participation in politics and good governance.
Eight teams participated (separated into two groups of four teams each) in a round robin format and the two top teams from each group qualified for the semi-finals. In the end it was Karu Selected FC and Kpegyi Stars FC that duelled for the grand prize in a tense and highly technical final match which was watched by dignitaries like Hon. Shaba Ibrahim, MHR representing Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency, Hon. Muhammed Bio (Baruten/Kaiama Federal Constituency), Hon. Adamu Alhaji Lawan (Commissioner for Finance, Borno state), Mallam Ahmed Uwais (renowned lawyer) and Shafii Aliyu, a business mogul.
Other dignitaries who graced the event were Victoria Hauwa Jatto (Academic/Philanthropist), Roy Mensah (Founder, Emerging Leaders Programme), and Mallam Lawal Muhammed (Manager AMML Microfinance Bank).
There was excitement as the crowd rose up to acknowledge the arrival of Hamza Lawan who flew in from Dubai just to witness the final match and Emmanuella Nwabufo (MD, Hendon College Abuja, the jersey sponsors). And then came Umar Hashidu along with his friend, Imran Mora. Faro Beverages, Yola, was represented by the amiable and beautiful Hadiza Abubakar, their GM, Marketing.
THIRD PLACE MATCH
The day began with a match to determine third and fourth place. It was between Desmond FC and T-Babes FC. Before the game began, Hauwa Atiku-Uwais distributed protective shin guards to all the players of the four teams that made it to the semi-finals. The shin guards were handed to the teams by Hon. Muhammed Bio. He encouraged the players to give their best and also play safe to avoid injuries.
The match itself was very exciting as Desmond FC won the hearts of supporters with their free flowing brand of play. Sporting blue jerseys, Desmond FC pressed forward and scored the opener. It was a rocket into the top right corner that left the T-Babes goalkeeper sprawling on grass.
All ‘bets’ were placed on the team in blue to win. But T-Babes (green jersey) had other plans. They scored a late equalizer and went on to win via penalties after their goalkeeper made a wonderful save off a Desmond FC striker’s kick.
That victory won the team a cash prize of fifty thousand naira. T-Babes striker, Tosin, also carted home a ten thousand naira reward for Highest Goal scorer of the tournament. He scored twelve goals in one week.
STAND UP FOR THE CHAMPIONS
Before kick-off of the most important game of the tournament, the Convener, Hauwa Atiku-Uwais addressed the players, reminding them to be positive agents of change wherever they go. She charged them to shun vote-buying and selling, and advised that they apply their skills and knowledge into voting for the right leaders who will, in turn, make life better for everybody. Atiku-Uwais informed the teams and invited guests that, with the right quality of leaders in office, the system will make it easy for young people to thrive without being connected to any “Oga at the top”.
In a historic moment, the female duo of Atiku-Uwais and Emmanuella Nwabufo played the championship balls in a simultaneous kick-off, the first of its kind in these parts.
And off we went!
Karu Selected had been the most brilliant team throughout the tournament, winning all their games and playing the most entertaining football. Three of their star players were candidates for Most Valuable Player of the Tournament; David, Legend and Blessing.
But Kpegyi Stars didn’t come to joke either. They huffed and puffed their way to a pulsating 3-2 loss against the more experienced players from Karu.
It was a close game with lots of scoring opportunities missed at both ends of the pitch.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable final match, fitting end to the turbo-charged atmosphere that pervaded the venue for all of one week.
Coming second in the final won Kpegyi Stars a cash prize of seventy five thousand naira.
Karu Selected, Champions of the inaugural Hauwa Atiku-Uwais 5-Aside Soccer Tournament, KURUDU 2020, lifted a gold-plated trophy and one hundred thousand naira cash! The Borno State Commissioner for Finance also blessed the winners with an additional twenty five thousand naira.
The final was almost marred by serious head injuries to Simon and David of Kpegyi Stars and Karu Selected FC respectively. While David received treatment and continued with a bandaged head, Simon was rushed to hospital where his deep cut needed six stitches and some massive pain killers.
All hail the champions!
INDIVIDUAL AWARDS FOR BRILLIANCE
The Hauwa Atiku-Uwais brand places premium on discipline and competence and so there was reward for high performance individuals in the competition. Categories included MVP, Highest Goal Scorer, Most Consistent Fan, Hardest Working Official, Best Golakeeper, amongst others.
All winners smiled home with various cash prizes. The most skilful player in the tournament also emerged as MVP (David, Karu Selected FC) while his goalkeeper won the prize for being the only goalie to score a goal throughout the competition.
HAUWA AND THE CONVERSATION
Events by Hauwa Atiku-Uwais are mostly organised under her socio-political consciousness platform, THE CONVERSATION. The platform is an opportunity for Nigerians to unite in fashioning a path to a better nation regardless of political affiliations, religion, ethnicity and social status.
THE CONVERSATION is a call to action in the face of severe dearth of quality leadership facing Africa’s most populous nation.
Having hosted a couple of town hall meetings which attracted some of the best young…and senior minds at home and Diaspora, it was decided that subsequent events should be taken to the grassroots where most of the politically exploited citizens are based.
As sports, especially soccer, unites, it provided ample opportunity to spread the message against hooliganism and electoral violence; participants were young citizens whose low stations in life (a consequence of poor leadership) is used to great advantage by greedy, scheming politicians during elections.
Atiku-Uwais’ mission is to disabuse the minds of the corrupted and help them relearn new ideas and the ideology that places humanity before anything else.
The end-goal is to create a better, more responsible society where the power resides with the people, and the people apply that power wisely and peacefully. Like most of the other guests at the soccer event, the Convener expressed satisfaction with the quality of the entire championship which was organised by April 12 Multimedia Ltd.
(Source: https://lionofjada.com/), Reported by Michael Achimugu