After four succesive wins, Kogi state finally emerged champions of the 10th edition of the President Unity Cup U-17 Boys Soccer Championship after a 1-0 win victory over Taraba state under highly-powered floodlights at the Kogi Confluence Stadium on Monday.
A lone magically-unstoppable effort from a free kick spot with 40 yards out by captain and midfielder Abbas Ibrahim helped Kogi state to brush aside the Jalingo boys to grab its first U-17 President Unity trophy.
The hosts’ goalkeeper Godwin Tale who was dubbed “Alampasu” conceded only a goal in the tournament so far kept his post well despite Kogi was severally denied an opener in the first half with plenty opportunities to rout their opponents, Taraba in the finals.
Three begging chances was individually missed by the Kogi striking duo of Alhassan Sanusi and Ademola Solomon who both scored three goals each in the tournament denied the hosts any first half lead as it ended goalless.
The second half resumed as the first ended with Kogi maintaining the overwhelming dominance and but to convert its possession to goal until in the 68 minutes when Abbas Ibrahim fired home a long range effort from free kick spot to secured the much-awaited winner.
The end result failed to justify the dominance of Kogi as the Taraba boys’ will celebrate goalkeeper Ahmed Adams for several classy saves made to keep them in encounter despite earlier lost 2-0 to the hosts at the group stages.
Interesting to note that the winner grabber and captain for Kogi, Abbas Ibrahim was a former member of the Nigeria U-13 National team that won an invitational tournament in 2009 before graduating into the U-15 last year in a team that hosted the likes of Taiwo Awoniyi, Chidera Ezeh, Kelechi Iheanacho who later progressed to the Nigeria World Cup winning U-17 national team.
Kogi has however dethroned former non-participating winners Bayelsa to emerged defending champions.
The trophy won was first for the victorious players of Kogi and second for captain Abbas Ibrahim who won the U-14 Chief of Naval Staff Cup for the state in 2009.
Kogi has now arguably won three National age-grade soccer championships after the U-16 Ramat Cup and U-14 Chief of Naval Staff Cup since its 22 years of creation.
Present at the finals was the Commissioner of Sports, Honorable Puke Anthony; Chairman of Kogi United and Confluence Queens, Mallam Abdul Adama; Special Adviser on Sports Development, Honorable Paul Aiyenugba; Vice President of YSFON, Honorable Mustapha Allah-Dey and host of others.