This always promised to be a special final as two unbeaten teams slug it out in the final of a tournament that has blessed us with the very best of football and we were not disappointed but in the end, there was only one winner…
Ojo-Apapa region made tournament history as they carted home the trophies for both the men and women football competitions at the National Sports Institute pitch of the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
In the male final, The Ojo-Apapa Region, the tournament’s defending champions defeated hard-fighting Ogba/Agege Region by 4-2 in a pulsating and highly entertaining match which witnessed football at its most competitive yet played in the spirit of true friendship.
The match kicked off with Ogba-Agege taking the fight to their rivals and was quickly rewarded with the first goal of the match. The goal spurred the boys in white into action and they quickly grabbed their equalizer before taking the lead. The first half ended 2 -2 but on resumption of the second half, the defending champions quickly upped their game as the boys in orange tired out thanks to their quick, high-intensity style.
Two quick goals followed as the referee brought an end to one of the most contested and highly entertaining final in the competition’s history.
In the female category, the Ojo-Apapa region also won the final match, beating the competition’s defending champions, Egbeda region 3-0, making it the first ever region to do the double in the competition’s history.
In the third place match for both men and women played earlier, Surulere region’s men and women teams did a double by beating the Campus on penalty shoot-outs and Ikeja-Ketu 1 – 0 respectively to win the loser’s final.
Shortly before the men’s final, a novelty match was played as legends from past tournaments entertained the crowd. Captained by the lead evangelist, Chris Ogbonnaya, the veterans in white played against the veterans in red, captained by the chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Reuben Mbaka. The highly entertaining match ended goalless.
Ojo-Apapa also made it a clean sweep of honours in the individual prizes category as Izuchukwu Egemba, with 5 goals, won the golden boots for the highest goal scorer in the men category while the mercurial Ruth Nwaneri, with 11 goals, won in the women category. The Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Mr. Reuben Mbaka, said that the tournament had achieved the purpose and hailed all those that supported the idea. Mbaka added that the next edition of the tournament would be bigger and better organised.
Ojo-Apapa coach, Frank Okodugha, expressed gratitude to God for the success of the team. He said the victory over Ogba/Agege was not easy, but was well deserved and promised to defend the cup in the next edition.
The 2014 ICOC Football tournament proved high successful and extraordinary in all sorts of ways, with passionate crowds treated to thrills, upsets and a record number of goals from the 10 regions that participated in the men and women category.