By Binebai Princewill
The Ijaw/Itsekiri Peace and Unity Cup sponsored by a renowned world peace ambassador, Comr. Sheriff Mulade which came to an exciting end yesterday at the Benikrukru football pitch saw the Itsekiris of Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State smiling home with songs of victory.
The match for third place was between Adjudiabo and Kunukunuma Fcs that battled to secure the third prize, it was a keen contest from both sides.
The first half of the game ended 1-1 but the Itsekiris appears more deadly and dangerous in the second half which gave them an edge by trashing Kunukunuma 3-1 in full time, a situation sports lovers described as wonderful and magical.
By increasing the scoreline to 4-1, as could be seen by spectators, it completely demoralised the playing spirit of Kunukunuma players.
The battle for championship
Shortly after the third place match has been played between Adjudiabo and Kunukunuma Fcs at the Benikrukru football pitch, the finalists Okerenkoko and Ogidigben teams filed out to battle for who finally wins the trophy as champions of the heavily publicised event.
Football lovers while commenting on the display of rare talents from both sides in the final match noted that the finalists were playing professional football, obviously shock in seeing great players from the creeks of Niger Delta region tapping the round leather.
However, the first half ended with a goal scored by Jeremiah Oritseye of Ogidigben Fc which boosted their morals, the Okerenkoko Fc obviously losing out to grab the one million naira earmarked for the champions put up a strong fight in their bid to equalise but the Ogidigben Fc strongly resisted and would want to capitalize on any miscalculation from Okerenkoko Fc to net another goal.The first half ended 1-0.
Nevertheless, the second half of the match between the finalists appears even more exciting and interesting as both teams continues to play professional football to the bewilderment of all spectators.
Like wounded lions, they played in their bid to equalise while the Ogidigben Fc did not take it lightly either by resisting and trying to increase their scoreline but the Okerenkoko Fc appears more dangerous by continuously mounting pressure.
The Ogidigben Fc could no longer resist the pressure from Okerenkoko Fc hence a superlative goal from Previous Pius gave an equaliser to the Kerenkoko Fc.
At this moment, the arena is filled with anxiety among supporters of both teams as the players continues to battle for the trophy.
In the full time of play, the scoreline remains 1-1, while others are expecting additional 15-15 minutes of play, obviously due to the time factor, organisers of the tournament in collaboration with the referee instructed that the teams should go straight to a penalty shootout.
In the penalty shootout, the players from both sides exhibited professionalism by constantly neting their goals but one save from the Ogidigben Fc goal keeper and a miss from the Okerenkoko Fc player gave victory to Ogidigben Fc against their counterparts Okerenkoko Fc.
The penalty shootout ended 5-4 in favour of Ogidigben Fc as they are now the resigning champions of the 2019 Ijaw/Itsekiri Peace and Unity Cup otherwise known as Comrade Sheriff Mulade Peace and Unity Cup.
The cultural troups
The uniqueness of the Ijaw and Itsekiri cultures were brought to the fore as the Ijaws brought master drummers to boost the morals of their players, the Itsekiris also did not relax as they brought in their cultural troup to boost the morals of their players.
Besides boosting the soccer spirits of the players, spectators were thrilled and entertained by the highly magnificent cultural troup from Itsekiri and master drummers from Ijaw.
The Ijaws and Itsekiris truly intertwined yesterday with rare exhibition of friendliness among sons and daughters of the two ethnic nationalities.
We are impress with Mulade, Delta State Government will partner with him in third edition – Porbeni
Representing chairman of the Delta State Sports Commision, Mr. Tony Obock, Seigha Porbeni stated that the commission is impressed with the role played by Amb. Sheriff Mulade and his team for hosting the peace and unity football tournament in Warri South West Local Government Area.
He noted that the commission is working towards partnering with Mulade for the third edition, noting that football anywhere in the world remains one of the best way in promoting peace, love and Unity among the people.
Porbeni stated that football was introduced at the end of world war II in order to promote peace in the world, adding that Mulade’s idea for peace and unity among Ijaws and Itsekiris is perfect and in line with the foundation of football in the world’s history.
We are very happy to see this, there is unity already – Gbenekama
On his part, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, spokesman of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State expressed happiness towards the football tournament, stating that there is unity already among the Ijaws and Itsekiris.
Chief Gbenekama further called for sustenance of the tournament, admitting that the Ijaws and Itsekiris of Warri South West have been having unholy alliance in recent times, noting that if they both come together like what was seen yesterday at Benikrukru community, better days lies ahead of the two tribes.
“This tournament is not about the money or who wins the trophy, it is about promoting peace and unity among Ijaws and Itsekiris, as the Fiyewei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, I am very happy with what I am seeing here today, we have been mending fences as a people ” Chief Godspower.
Chief Godspower also called on the Delta State Government to seriously partner with Mulade in achieving lasting peace in the area.
The purpose of the tournament is to achieve more unity, that we have gotten – Mulade Jubilates
Meanwhile, Chief sponsor of the tournament, Amb. Comr. Sheriff Mulade while jubilating for successfully hosting the second edition of the football tournament reiterated that the purpose for which the tournament was hoted was to achieve more unity and peace among the Ijaws and Itsekiris in Delta State, beginning from Warri South West.
According to him, he is already planning the third edition of the Ijaw and Itsekiri Peace and Unity Cup, stressing that the third edition will cut across all the three Warri Local Government Areas, Warri North, Warri South and Warri South West all in Delta State.
Mulade noted that the massive turn out among the Itsekiris and Ijaws in gracing the occasion is an eloquent testimony to show that the tournament is already yielding positive results.
However, Mulade noted that not necessarily because of finance but stated that it is important for those in position of authority and the government in particular to grace such events, stressing that the people at the grass root will be happy seeing them in such function.
When asked on what will become the fate of some of the good players in the tournament, Mulade reveals that over 25 players have been selected to constitute the Coastal Football Club which according to him is to see them playing in the Nigeria national team.
He said the tournament is beyond peace building as his dream is to develop talents that will do exploit for the country, adding that the NFF should not look at players from this side as local players.
Today marks a memorable day for our people in Warri South West – Duke
On his part, Chairman of Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, Hon. Taye Duke Tuoyor stated that yesterday marked one of the memorable days in the life of all the good people of Warri South West Local Area, seeing the Ijaws and Itsekiris dancing and playing together beyond politics.
Hon. Tuoyor particularly described Mulade as a rare human specie, stressing that the Local Government is proud of him.
According to him, achieving total peace in the Local Government remains his primary focus, stressing that the Governor of Delta State and His Deputy have also contributed their quota in the sustenance of peace in the area.
He noted that the council will continue to support and partner with Mulade in subsequent tournaments.
This is truly a welcome development – Warri Area Commander
The Warri Area Division, Area Commander, Mohammed Garba described the competition as a welcome development in the area.
Elated Garba also called on Mulade to sustain the football tournament, adding that soccer is obviously one of the internationally recognised medium of preaching peace and unity among the people.
He stated that he would want to personally present the trophy to winners in the next edition of the Ijaw/Itsekiri Peace and Unity Cup as a demonstration of his penchant love to sustain peace and unity in the area.
Meanwhile, it would be recalled that Amb. Sheriff Mulade, sponsor of the tournament gave out a whooping N2.2m for grab in this year’s edition as the winning team of the tournament, Ogidigben Fc, reigning champions smiled home with N1m while the second and third runners -up, Okerenkoko Fc and Adjudiabo Fc pocketed N700,000 and N500,000 respectively.
Nevertheless, there were other consolation prizes for best player, highest goal scorer, best goal keeper, best behaved team, best coach among other prizes too numerous to mention.
It would be recalled that rising artists like King Zionman and many others thrilled the audience to maximum satisfaction during the grand finale of the tournament yesterday at Benikrukru in Gbaramatu kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.