BY IKENNA OGBU / ENUGU
It was a tension-soaked round leather duel between Awgu Local Government team and the Enugu South Local Government squad at Mestalla stadium, Ngwo Park, Enugu, last Saturday in their second leg of the on-going second edition of the Save Enugu State Now Movement (S-E-S-N-M) soccer tournament.
The Enugu South Local Government team pipped Awgu Local Government squad 1-0 at the Enugu stadium. Although it supposed to have been 2-0 in the favour of Enugu South LG amidst controversial penalty goal that was disallowed due to pressure by the centre referee, Chukwuebuka Ekoh.
The S-E-S-N-M football tournament is sponsored by the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) Pastor Donatus Obi Ozoemena.
Both teams were equal to match in the first half of the play as each side displayed football mastery with beautiful ball possession to the admiration of fans at the stadium.
The Awgu squad would have taken the lead with several shots at target but Enugu South goalkeeper, Onyia Chikamso stood firm making wonderful saves.
The first half ended 0-0
Second half saw the two sides fuming, struggling to take control of the game with Awgu squad having an upper hand at the mid-field.
In 53rd minute of play, Enugu South broke the jinx through a terrific shot from outside 18 yard box that was deflected into the net, putting the scoreline to 1-0.
A penalty was awarded at 79th minute of play when the centre referee, Ekoh, spotted a foul against Enugu South even with a red card to the offending player from Awgu Local Government.
Indeed, it was a “cardable” infringement as the Awgu defender held a goal bound Enugu South striker with his two hands inside 18 yard box.
When the spot-kick was taken the Awgu goal keeper parried the ball and an on-rushing Enugu South player nodded the ball into the net. But to the surprise of many people, the centre referee disallowed the goal.
Angry Enugu-South players threatened to man-handle the centre referee but their frayed nerves were calmed by their coach.
The play continued with attack and counter attacks until the centre referee blew the final whistle at 90 minutes duration.
The full score was 1-0 in favour of Enugu South who had earlier lost 2-3 goals in their first encounter with Awgu Local Government Area team in September at Santiago Bernabeu, Nsukka High School stadium, Nsukka.
Speaking to newsmen after the game, the Special Assistant to the ADC Gubernatorial Candidate and Supreme Coordinator of the S-E-S-N-M football tournament, Rt. Hon. Okafor Onyeka Cyndia, said the Disciplinary Committee of the on-going S-E-S-N-M Enugu State Unity Cup, Second Edition football tournament would look into the late disallowed penalty rebound goal by the centre referee, Ekoh.
The Special Aide took time to extol the virtues of his boss, saying that he has been sponsoring the S-E-S-N-M soccer tournament since 2019.
Cyndia noted that “many youths are gone without utilizing of their talents due to poor governance, while some youths are used and dumped by the same government who supposed to protect them.
According to him, “It is quite unfortunate that Enugu State allocation/developmental funds are shared by few people who used the same funds to develop neighbouring state and purchasing properties overseas while Enugu State is on decaying stage. Ndi Enugu State wake up because people deceiving party have done more than harm to the indigenes and inhabitants of Enugu State.
“A 24 years business without reasonable or good profits margin should not be consider as profitable business and any business without profit should be ignored completely. No state that runs hire purchase and apprentice government will experience good governance, let alone democracy dividends.
“The good news is that His Excellency, Pastor Obi feel the pains of ndi Enugu state, that is why he left his comfort zone where government care for their citizens and visitors to fix Enugu State for betterment of mankind”, he added.