By Ayoola Adeleke
It was expected to be a casual final, but it turned out to be what would go down in history as a heartwarming maiden Edo state civil servants football competition.
The Edo State Sports Commission football team came from a goal down to beat Edo State Government House 2-1 to emerge the champions of the maiden Edo State Head of Service Cup.
It was a frenzy day at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium with civil servants across ministries in the state trooped out to give the tournament hosted by Edo State Head of Service, Dr. Anthony Okungbowa, a befitting closure.
Edo State government house took charge of proceedings from the blast of the whistle with smooth passes and free flow of football, pegging back their “hosts” for the larger part of the first fifteen minutes of the game.
The Osadebe Avenue landlords saw their efforts paid off as they took the lead after so much pressure on the Samuel Ogbemudia boys.
Moments after the goal, the “away team” went to bed and allowed the Stadium to take control of the game. With the Yussuf Alli Boys taking over possession, they attacked the Godwin Obaseki Boys and forced them to commit a series of blunders at the backline. The pressure mounted yielded a good result for the Stadium Boys after Ganiu Sanni rose above every player in the box and headed home the leveller from a corner kick.
With a few minutes to the end of the first half, Efe Osunde scored what would be the winning goal after he benefitted from a loose ball from a purposeful attacking movement launched by his forward line.
In stamping its football authority over other ministries and agencies in the state, Edo Sports Commission swept off all individual awards of the tournament — Cyril Edobor emerged as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and Francis Akalagbe of the same team clinched the Golden Boot award with a total of 3 goals in the tournament.
Meanwhile, EdoSUBEB won the bronze medal after beating the Ministry of Physical Planning on penalties after 1-1 in regulation time.
The tournament Organising Committee was chaired by Edo Sports Commission Director of Facilities, Mr. Victor Edokpahi who bows out of service in a few days from now.