By Ime Bassey
The third edition of this year’s International Energy Insurance (IEI) Hockey National League Savannah Conference ended over the weekend at the hockey pitch of the Murtala Mohammed Square, Kaduna with host Kaduna and Kano State teams qualifying for the Premier League finals in Abuja later in the year.
Kano set the ball rolling by defeating Benue 1-0 in the opening game of the male event but lost their second match 2-1 to Kaduna. Kaduna on the other hand were beaten 1-0 by Benue to leave all the teams with three points apiece. Kano and Kaduna however qualified over Benue with superior goals.
Benue female team however made the state proud by winning the female event ahead of Kaduna. They defeated Kaduna 1-0 in the opening game of the event to claim one of the tickets to the Abuja finals.
The Savannah Conference experience was described by tournament director, Salisu Jabbo as exemplary. “We had a great tournament and fans came from Kano, Bauchi and Benue States to cheer their players. The standard was also high, especially in the male event where all the teams gave a good account of themselves,” he said.
The following teams have booked their places in the grand finale, 2011 winners, Yobe Desert Warriors, runners-up, Niger Flickers, Union Bank, Plateau Flickers, Police Machine, Bayelsa flickers and Imo Heartlands.