Amesi Amazons and Awka United are the new champions of the second Governor Willie Obiano’s Unity Cup which ended on Friday night at the Justice Chuba Ikpeazu Stadium, Onitsha.
Amesi Amazons beat Ogidi Ladies by a lone goal scored in the 32nd minute of the first half by Vivian Eze, to lift the cup with a million naira cash. The same for Awka United who played a highly technical game to beat Igbo-Ukwu United by two goals scored in each half to cart home same one million naira and a giant trophy.
The Unity Cup had 146 communities registered out of the 188 towns that make up Anambra State, with 118 male teams and 28 female teams.
The finals lived up to the billings not minding the sandy pitch of the Justice Ikpeazu Stadium. And the turnout poor for a State affair. However, the Honourable Commissioner for Sports, Youth and Entrepreneurship, Dr. Uju Nwogu, came with the whole team from her ministry. And she was also the governor’s representative.
The female game as usual offered some fancy footwork but little fireworks. It was the males final that really generated a lot of unanswered questions about the untapped potentials that the State has. The game started with Igbo-Ukwu rattling Awka with incessant attacks and even a disallowed off-side goal. They also built an off-side wall that prompted Awka to change tactics. And pronto, Awka won an indirect free-kick in the 38th which was converted by Nwafor Nonso, a defender whose shot was akin to what Lius Suarez does often.
The second half saw a more determined Igbo-Ukwu side but met a brick wall from the Awka United who played with the sole aim of taking the one million naira home. And Awka made it two in the 68th minute when the man of the match, Ozoemena Amuche, rounded up two defenders before he found Kosovo Daniel who scored the ball into the net to seal the game.
The Governor Willie Obiano’s Unity Cup is a competition that is meant to unite the 188 communities in the state and an avenue for the state to raise professional sides for both male and female. True to type, talents were discovered the the state can raise two teams each if she wants.
The State Governor showed high level of gender sensitivity as both male and female teams got the same prize money. The runners-up got half a million naira each, while the third and the forth placed teams got 300,000 & 100,000 naira respectively. The most valuable players, the best goalkeepers and the highest goal scorers received 20,000 naira each.
The low end of the event was the low turnout of Ndi Anambra for an event meant for them.