Mammoth Crowd As Ooni Crowns Oduduwa College Champion Of Ojaja Principal Cup For The Second Year Running While Oyetola, Peller And Others Storm Ile-ife
Oduduwa College of Ile-Ife was crowned the Ojaja Principal Cup Champion for the second time consecutively after whitewashing their counterpart from Progress Academy in a very entertaining encounter. The two teams had proven themselves before reaching this stage of the competition after reaching the finals from glorious semis.
The final who had the Governor of the State of Osun, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola represented by Mr Yemi Lawal the hon Commissioner for youth and sports, Hon. Shina Peller, member of the federal House of Representatives representing Iseyin/Kajola/Itesiwaju Federal Constituency, Assistant Technical Director, Nigerian Football Federation, Mr. Siji Olagunju and other dignitaries at the grand finale of the second edition of the Ojaja II Principal Cup, on Thursday 5th March in Ile Ife.
His Imperial Majesty Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II who juggled the ball round entire pitch to the admiration of the spectators and guests praising and counting as Kabiyesi skillfully remembered his Loyola College days kicked off the game which took place at Oduduwa College football pitch. It was an easy ride for Oduduwa College as they took the lead in the second minute when Adebiyi Pelumi opened the scoreline with a superb volley from 12 yards out. Jeremiah doubled Progressed Academy's trouble with a penalty kick sending the goal keeper the wrong way before the close of half time.
Progress Academy enjoyed good possession for the better part of the second half as they regroup in an effort to get back into the game but their fate was sealed when Adebiyi Pelumi fired in a bicycle kick which handed Oduduwa College a massive lead and eventually creating a record by winning the prestigious principal cup for the second time in a row.
Earlier, Fakunle Unity Government High School, Osogbo won the third place after defeating Ife City College,Ile-Ife through penalty shootout after a 1:1 draw at the end of 90 minutes.
As the overall winner of the tournament, Oduduwa College, Ile Ife received a brand new 18-seater bus with additional N500,000 cash price and a chance to participate in the Gothia Cup in Sweden later in the year, Progress Academy, Modakeke-Ife won a cash price of N300,000 as the first runner-up while Fakunle Unity Government High School, Osogbo bagged N150,000 cash prize.
In the individual prize category, Adegbaju Abiodun of Oduduwa College emerged as the next rated player, Adekunle Fatai of Progress Aademy received the golden shoe as the highest goal scorer of the tournament while Ogunmefun Anointing of Ife City College went home with the Glove as best goalkeeper.
While addressing newsmen, Osun State Commissioner for youths and Sports, Mr. Yemi Lawal representing Governor Oyetola thanked the Ooni for the initiative. "Mr Governor is a man of the grassroots that's why he's so much in love with Kabiyesi's grassroots soccer tournament. I am marveled by the crowd here, this is an indication that grassroot sport is very much alive in Osun, and I am going to fully report to Mr Governor. We as a government will support the next edition to the best of our ability to ensure that our younger ones are well motivated".
In the same vein, Assistant Technical Director of the Nigerian Football Federation, Mr. Siji Olagunju explained that it is time that the government at all levels rise up to the task of grassroots sports development and capacity building for Nigeria's teeming young population.
Among the players who could not hide his joy, Adegbaju Abiodun who emerged as the next rated future player told newsmen that he is very lucky to have participated in the highly placed football competition and glad he did not just win the competition but was adjudged the best and thanked his teammates and Kabiyesi for creating a platform to show his talents.
"In the next five years, I want to see myself playing football in England with Liverpool Football Club." He noted with a smile.
Others dignitaries present include; Hon Biyi Odunlade, the immediate past Commissioner for Youths and Sports in the State of Osun, Chairman of Oyo State Road Management Agency, members of Modakeke Progressive Union led by Hon Wale Amusan, traditional rulers and chiefs of Ile-Ife and members of Fakunle High School Old Students Associations.
The players of Oduduwa College, Ile-Ife and Progress Academy, Modakeke-Ife accompanied by their coaches, teachers and parents were later hosted to a dinner at the Ooni's palace where the projector coordinator Mr. Akinola Martins, who spoke on behalf of the organisers, thanked everyone for their support from the beginning to where the competition stands. He thanked His Majesty for his continued support to the growth of the Nigerian youth, his relentless efforts in uniting and securing the future of Nigeria through sport and education. Akinola also thanked the Government of the State of Osun for allowing the competition to stand and other guests for their presence. He then called for support from corporate bodies and other sport loving Nigerians to support the competition for better tournament in the coming editions.