Despite the bouncy surface of the Ansar-Ud-Deen Primary School, Abuja, Oba-Ile, Osun State, the visiting Excel FC, Osogbo and Oba United gave a good account of themselves as promising teams made up of individual talents.
The two sides took on each other in honour of the 70th Birthday anniversary of the Oloba of Oba-Ile, Oba Adekunle Asamu Oyeyemi who drew an appreciable friends and associates from the diaspora to his sleepy town.
Although the match kicked off behind schedule, it was a game which married players’ seriousness with entertainment in their full display of skills from goalkeepers through defence line, middle of the field to the attack areas.
Excel FC, captained by Sanusi Wale, a 400-level French and International Studies student of the Osun State University, Osogbo, recorded the first goal of the game. Oba United would later fight back to level up.
With inspiration coming from enthralled spectators who encircled the field, the teams were in their elements holding and passing the ball round the field till Oba United saw another chance and scored their second goal.
The unruffled Excel FC, showed more determination to save their face as they dominated the game with their huge frame and maturity, resulting into an equalizer which earned them wild applause. At 2-2, the game was rounded off by the centre referee who later called for penalty shootout to determine who would win Oba Oyeyemi Cup.
While the penalty kick was being taken, the crowd surged to the field and almost blocked the view of the dignitaries. In the end, Oba United carried the day, scoring three goals against Excel FC one.
The Oloba presented a trophy to the winner and prayed for both teams to play to breakthrough in their career. Among the guests at the match was a childhood friend of Oba Oyeyemi, Mr Yemi Fakile, who relished the match and commended the teams and their handlers, urging government to promote grass root football.
“What we are seeing here this evening is evidence of untapped talents hidden in our communities all over this country. I am pleased with the performance of these players, and pray they make success in their career,” he said.
Daughter of Oba Oyeyemi, Princess Adeola Oyeyemi, was equally fascinated by the performance of the two teams to the extent that she engaged herself in filming the match with her phone obviously for record purposes.
The soft-spoken lady also charged the government to encourage the youths in the grass root to develop their talents.
“Government should start from somewhere. They should use bottom-top approach which will later graduate to inclusive approach. If these approaches are strictly followed, we would reduce problem of youth restiveness,” she noted.
The Coach of Oba United, Mr Kayode Olasunkanmi Irawo commended Oba Oyeyemi for including the football match in his 70th birthday programme. He said the match was opportunity to showcase the talents which are hidden in the community, seeking support of government and individuals to promote the players further.
A member of the organizing committee, Oluomo Sunday Akere called on the players to be unrelenting in their struggle to build their career beyond Osun State, charging them to go and do trial with teams outside the state.
“This life is all about self-belief. What the players have displayed today shows they are confident of themselves, meaning they can play anywhere. If they can play well on this type of field, then they can play better in better field,” he said.