The stage is set for semi-final matches of the maiden FRITISH Football Championship at Olympic Field, Ijesha-Amuwo, Lagos, as four teams are now left in contention for the trophy donated by two Italy-based brothers, Friday and Timothy Ebeye, in conjunction with their childhood friend, David Opeyemi (aka Shola Garber), who is now plying his trade in Northern Cyprus.
The four semi-finalists emerged after the quarter-finals on Tuesday, as Racing Genk of Belgium striker, Paul Ebere Onuachu’s youth days’ club, Young Stars of Satellite Town beat Nollywood FC of Surulere 2-0 in the opening game, after which Young Starlet silenced Pison Divine Royals 1-0.
The third match on Tuesday saw Super Angels of Ajegunle dump SC Heritage 3-0, while Mighty Starlet followed their junior team into the last four with the day’s toughest game, as they pulled through 7-6 on penalties against Golden Potters of Ojo, following a 1-1 draw at regulation time.
Chairman of the organizing committee, Omoette than (aka Coach Lapa) disclosed that the semi-final pairings on Thursday, starting at 1pm, as against an initial plan to kick-off at 11am, will see Coach Osahon Emokpae lead out Young Stars against one of his former protégés, Kunle Irinyemi, who is now captain of Super Angels, and both sides will tango for a place in Saturday’s final.
There also promises to be another dramatic tie right after, when Coach Lapa’s two teams, Young Starlet and Mighty Starlet, who both train on the pitch where the competition is taking place, battle to play each other out of contention for a ticket into the highly-expected ultimate match of the competition being sponsored by three of their products.
Both sides, incidentally, earlier tackled each other in the same group, with the junior team getting the last laugh back then, as they carried the day in a pulsating encounter and went on to top the group, only for lads in the senior squad declaring afterwards that they did not put in their best efforts because they had already qualified.
The stage is now set for the decider of all deciders between them on Thursday, with Coach Lapa, who confessed that he was overwhelmed by the tension and tempo of both matches involving his teams on Tuesday, sure to get his fingers filled with the tripartite task of being organizer and coach of the two contending teams.
Whatever the results that come through on Thursday, more promising whiz-kids and talents of the round leather game are certain to be unearthed once again, as FRITISH Cup 2021 is already becoming a fertile and virile hunting ground for the best of tomorrow’s soccer stars, as each of the ten youth clubs that began the race on April 7 have justified their invitations to participate.
As the semi-finals linger on Thursday and the shape of the final is unfolding ahead of Saturday’s decisive day at the open space arena that lies few kilometers behind the headquarters of Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Church, off Ijesha Bus Stop, Oshodi/Mile 2 Expressway, Lagos, the organizing committee is already compiling a long list of the revelations so far discovered.
One of the lads to watch out for in Thursday’s games surely has to be Super Angels’ top striker, Mandela Itodo, who is now the competition’s leading scorer with seven goals, following another two he added in his side’s victory over Coach Raymond’s SC Heritage.
Maxwell Ebogun also netted one in that encounter that featured Joseph Musa (aka Abutu) for the team from Ojo, who could have gone ahead had they been able to convert a penalty through Joseph Odagboyin, who was hugely apologetic at the end of the pulsating encounter, in which his side were adjudged by everyone watching as the youngest squad in the entire competition.
The organizing committee was also apologetic for the long delay that occurred before the day’s first game kicked-off, mostly due to late arrivals by match officials and disagreement between Young Stars and Nollywood coaches over licenses of registered players for the Surulere team.
Coach Lapa concluded: “The kick-off was delayed due to the late arrival of one of the officiating referees, but thank God, everything is intact. Congrats to all teams that made it to the semi-finals. We are also making plans for the final, which will hold this Saturday.
“The day will commence at 12:30pm with a ceremonial match between two school football teams, after which expect to begin the third place match at 2pm and the final should start at 3:30pm latest.
“Before then, though, let’s all remain sporting and work together to make the semi-finals as successful as all other matches so far in this championship have been. We will all be back here on Thursday – starting at 1pm, no longer 11am as initially planned.”
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