By Eche Amos
As the curtains for the 7th National Youth Games holding in Asaba, Delta State, are gradually winding down, Sports Journalists covering the multi-sport U-15 National Event are planning to take out time to usher in the new national leadership of the Sports Writers’ Association of Nigeria, SWAN, headed by Comr. Isaiah Benjamin.
The over three hundred Sports Journalists who converged in Asaba from across the country have unanimously resolved to play a novelty football match as a way of fraternizing among themselves, with journalists practicing in the North forming the Northern Region Squad while those practicing in the South forming the Southern Region Team, respectively.
Captain of the Northern Region Sports Journalists, Eche Amos, during an address at the Media Centre of the Late Stephen Keshi International Stadium, Asaba, on Wednesday, made the intention of the Northern Journalists known, revealing that the second novelty match would not be taken for granted as his side would approach it with all the vigour it requires, stressing that they would never be intimidated by the antics of the host region whom he accused of planning to hire mercenaries and over-aged players to feature in the clash.
“Yes, this match is already gathering momentum. The news is spreading like wildfire.
“We know the South is deploying every avenue to upturn the result this time around after suffering a devastating 3-1 demolition in the first encounter during the last National Sports Festival in December here in Asaba.
“We don’t make so much noise when it comes to a situation like this. Let’s all meet in the field of play, and let the ball do the talking. After all, there was far more noise last year than we are hearing or reading today, but they still got walloped”, he buoyed.
Eche, who scored a goal from the spot and provided an assist in the last meeting between the two sides, explained that the hospitality given to the Northern Sports Journalists covering the Youth Games in Asaba by the host State and Region wouldn’t deter them from repeating history.
“Asaba is a beautiful place to be and the hospitality here is top-notch, no doubt. However, we know what’s at stake. So, we have decided to make some adjustments, both in our playing and coaching staff, to be able to achieve one of our cardinal reasons of being here (Asaba).”
He added that some friends of the Media currently attending the Youth Games, like veteran journalist, Gowon Akpodonor, Sammy Stars, Yusuf Ali(Chairman, Edo State Sports Commission), and the Abia State Director of Sports, have indicated interest in supporting the game.
Meanwhile, the Coordinator of the Southern Journalists Team, Clarkson Ogoh, has boasted that his side is battle-ready for the clash and would settle for nothing but victory on Saturday.
He blamed lack of coordination, inadequate preparation, and fatigue as responsible for the heavy defeat his side suffered at the hands of the Northern team before their home fans in the first meeting.
The top attacker who might start from the bench in Saturday’s clash due to his recent loss of form jokingly disclosed that his side might resort to involving some external legs to match the firepower and threat of the Northern side who look more organized and lethally.
The highly anticipated novelty football match which is being coordinated by an Aide to the Governor of Delta State and former Chairman of Warri Wolves FC, Moses Etu, comes up on Saturday, 30th September, 2023, at the St. Patrick’s College, Asaba, by 8 am.
Below is a tentative squad of the Northern Journalists as made available to the Press while the Southern Team’s Squad is being anticipated, probably being sent to a prayer house for consecration to deliver the result.
Northern Journalists team list
Goalkeepers: Busayo Olowookere, Muhammad Mansour Ibrahim, Abdul Momoh, Ephraim Okpanachi, Austin Ajayi.
Defenders: Sunny Canto, Albert Solomon.
Midfielders: Nehemiah Gwamna, Friday Onoja, Jacob Onjewu Dickson.
Attackers: Busbau S. Bala, Abraham Ochife, Sulaiman Isyaku Dansatta, Shehu Abdullahi, Samuel Gongwaja, Hilary P., Bala Bawaji, Adeyemi Oluwafemi, Tosh Michael, Wisdom Adaji, Joachim Dangana, Eche Amos.
1. Abbas Osculator – Technical Adviser
2. Isa Mohammed – Head Coach
3. Osas – Assistant Coach.
4. Ndubueze Chidoka – Goalkeeper Trainer.