By John Egbokhan
Super Eagles Coach, Samson Siasia has said that the future was bright for Five-A-side football in the country. Siasia, who made this known during the final match of the 2011 Gulder Five-A-side soccer tournament which held at the Indoor Hall of the National Institute for Sports in Lagos, said that with the proper planning, encouragement and sponsorship that Nigerian players can make a big statement at future Futsal events.
Speaking to reporters during the final match between Sholly Babes of Lagos and Mcjeff Football Club of Port Harcourt, Siasia expressed satisfaction with the performance of both teams, particularly Sholly Babes, won the thrilling match 2-0.
“I make bold to say that the future is indeed bright for Five-A-side football in the country. The energy, passion and the talents on display here is simply astonishing. These players are good. If they can play this well, even with little support, you can just imagine the kind of performance that they would showcase if they get all that they need to play Five-A-side soccer.
“The good thing that the Gulder competition has done is to expose these players to the nation, so that the authorities will know what to do with them. With such talents on show here, one can only expect them to get better in the years to come. But for that to happen, they need all the encouragement that they need to become fulfilled”, added Siasia.
For Sholly Babes, the road to Gulder glory was not easy as they had to confront several obstacles to get to where they are now. After qualifying from the south west region as runners-up, they were not tipped for the title. But like fate would have its way, they crossed all hurdles on their path to emerge champions.
In the final game, which started at 3pm,and watched by a capacity crowd, Sholly Babes’ Kabir Nasir who won the Golden Boot at the maiden edition of the competition last year, came out shining this year with his team, scoring the two goals that fetched the winners cheque of of N5m .
The champions also retained the Golden Boot Award won by Nasir, who netted seven goals in the competition and was awarded N100 000.
Madu Chidindu of Mcjeff FC won the Most Valuable Player award and went home with $1000..
Enugu’s Inter FC, who eliminated Pensioneers FC also from Enugu by a lone goal in a thrilling play-off earlier in then day, earned N1m.
Speaking at the end of the match, the Marketing Director, of the Nigerian Breweries Plc, Jacco Vander Linden, promised that the firm will continue to promote anything that has to do with youth development in the country. “The experience goes beyond enhancing the brand’s promise to the public but as a form of social responsibility to the brand’s operating community; adding values in the areas of sports development and youth empowerment in Nigeria”, said Linden.