Bendel Insurance Feeders have emerged champions of the 4th edition of Stephen Keshi National U-17 Football Tournament after they defeated Hollandho International FC 1-0 at Western Boys High School, Benin City, on Sunday.
As in other games from the beginning of the tournament, the young vipers of Benin stood better off their Port Harcourt counterparts as they dominated play creating several scoring chances in the first half of the game.
Osamuyi Egharevba positioned himself in a very good angle of the opponents 18-yard box to pounce on an Efe Joka rebounded shot on the
Bendel Insurance Feeders came close to scoring on three other occasions before halftime, but Efe Joka seemed not to have gone to the pitch with his scoring boots as she fluffed the chances that came went his way.
Hollandho dominated play in the second half and should have gotten back into the game with three threatening attacks in quick succession, but the tournament’s best goalkeeper, Jeffery was capable to wade of what could have been an equaliser and additional goal for the Port Harcourt boys.
Coach Seyi sent both Pascal Amaedeyha and tournament highest goal scorer, Endurance Omoruyi to the field in place of Isaac Justice and Osaigbovo Enobhakhare, to breathe into the defence and attack, some fresh air.
After further attacks and defensive works from both sides, Center referee, Paul Walter after 3 minutes of additional minutes signalled the end of the game to the jubilation of Bendel Insurance Feeders and their supporters as they defended the trophy they won last year.
Hollandho’s Francis Charles was voted player of the tournament, Insurance Feeders forward, Endurance Omoruyi bags the highest goal scorer’s golden boot while his teammate, goalkeeper Okhira Jeffrey picked up the safest hands of the tournament haven kept a clean sheet in all five games.
Earlier, Excellent Academy of Ughelli, Delta state emerged as a third-placed team after walking over Kaita FTB of Kano who set out their journey for their base, early on Sunday morning
What they said;
General Secretary, Board of Trustees, Stephen Keshi Football and Vocational Training Center, Comrade Austin Popo:
“We thank God, finally we are here and I also want to thank all those who made this a success; from players to the Organisers, to the media especially and the supporters. This is getting something out of nothing, but we thank God finally that we are here.”
“Most importantly, we are keeping to schedule, this is the fourth edition and by the grace of God, the fifth edition billed for June next year will be played at exactly the right date to mark Keshi’s life.”
“We are still looking forward to a situation where we are can have matches played in Obazuwa, the main domain of Stephen Keshi Football and Vocational Training Center. I think we are making progress, but it has not been easy, yet we thank God”
Bendel Insurance Feeders team Coach, Osaze Stanley:
“I’m very happy, it’s been a fantastic championship and I’m proud of my boys because it’s the players that make up a coach so I want to say kudos to the boys”
“I will also like to say a big thanks to the Governor and Deputy Governor Rt Hon Comrade Philip Shaibu for his wonderful assistant, they have been there for us, no mincing words.”
“Last season, we produced four and three are already with the senior team and from those who played last year, I only have 8, 12 of them are debutants; hopefully, some of them will also graduate to the senior team and also play for better clubs in Nigeria, this is our target”
Amongst dignitaries present at the final include the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Rt Hon Comrade Philip Shaibu who was represented by General Coordinator of sports, office of the Deputy Governor, Mrs Sabina Aimienenogha Chikere; CEO Ruzu Herbal Bitters, DR Onyemaechi Robert Uzu; General Overseer Ministry of Perfection And Patron of SKFVTC, Bishop Samson Okelezoh; former assistant coach to Stephen Keshi, Valien; Ex-footballer, Enoma Omoregie; Chairman Board of Trustee SKFVTC, Dr Brown Ogbeifun and Chairman Gabson football academy, Mr Gabson.