Donastars FC came from two goals down with barely few minutes to stoppage time to snatch the equaliser and go on to clinch the second edition of the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) U-17 Peace Football Championship in Asaba, Sunday.
Playing in an all-Abia final against El-Godz FC decided at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Donastars Football Club, emerged champions.
In the third place match played earlier, Campus FC of Imo State, defeated Ine Stars of Edo State by a lone goal to finish as the third best team of the competition, thereby, following the footsteps of another Imo team, Sam Decent Academy, which finished in third position at the first edition held in Akwa Ibom state last year.
Donastars FC of Abia, was awarded N5 million for emerging as champions of the competition, El-Godz FC will get N3 million for finishing second, while Campus FC will go home with N2 million as the third best team.
The Most Valuable Player of the tournament went to the captain of Campus FC of Imo, Chukwuemeka Prince, who eventually was the youngest captain at the competition, Jida Justice of Ine Stars, Edo State, won the Highest Goalscorer award, after ending the tourney as joint top scorer with seven goals, but was awarded for scoring first, ahead of Odoemena Pope of El-Godz FC of Abia, who was also presented with a medal for his heroics.
Shotstopper, Solomon Agoziem of Campus FC of Imo won the Best Goalkeeper of the tournament, with KIFA FC of Ondo emerging as the Best Behave Team, while the youngest player of the tournament went to Cyril Eta, of Safe Side FC of Cross River, who is aged 11 years.
Presenting the trophy to the winners of the competition, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Hon. Umana O. Umana, once again commended the Grassroots Sports Federation of Nigeria GRASOF, for initiating the tourney, and the Delta State Government for providing an enabling environment for the success of the competition.
The Minister who was represented by Mr Matthew Pukuma James, said, “the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is indeed privileged to be part of this tournament which provided an opportunity for young lads to display their talents to the world. The football tournament will not only have players develop on their individual skills but would entrench the importance of teamwork and the spirit of sportsmanship. These traits, incidentally, are in line with the theme of the tournament which is Peace.”
Ex- Internationals – Christian Obodo, Sam Sodje, and Baldwin Bazuaye, were at the grand finale, where they presented medals and trophies to the winning teams, as well as the individual players that won honours in different categories.
Tournament Coordinator and President of the Grassroots Sports Federation of Nigeria, GRASOF, Hon. John Ekpenyong, announced Bayelsa State as the next host of the football competition, which comes up tentatively in December 2023.