By Solomon Nwoke
Kaduna state’s representatives at of the Channels National Kids’ Cup, LGA Mohammed Kabir Primary School Kaduna have emerged winners of the Season 8 of the championship after dispatching their counterparts from Qua-Iboe Primary School Idah in Kogi with an emphatic 3-0 victory at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.
All the three goals were scored in the first half through Rabiu Hassan who opened scores for the last season’s runners up while the eventual highest goal scorer of the tournament, Chidiebube James raised the tally with two goals to increase his goals tally to 13.
Saint James Government School Oshogbo, Osun state won the third place after they defeated the tournament’s defending champions, Arinze Primary School of Benin City, Edo state 5-4 via penalties after they drew 1-1 at regulation time. Aside the trophy, the champions were awarded a cash prize of N1.5million with some gift items while the runners up, Kogi got N1 million and the third place winners, N500,000 for their efforts.
Emmanuel Peter from Qua-Iboe Primary School, Kogi won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award while James Ogbeche from Arinze Primary School Benin City, Edo state was compensated with the Best Goalkeeper’s award.
The final of the championship which coincided with the Children’s Day celebration attracted a handful of school children who came out to have fun as some gift items were shared out to them mark their day.
Reacting to their feat, man of the match in the final game, Chidiebube James expressed happiness for lifting his school to victory.
“I feel so great that we are going back to our state with the trophy. We give God the glory and I am also exceptionally happy that I also won the highest goal scorer of the season 8 of this championship. Our opponent, from Kogi are equally good, but we are the better side”, said the 15 year old SS II student whose dream is to feature someday for the national team and Manchester United of England.
Also reacting to the championship, the first vice-president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, said “apart from teaching the kids the art of playing football, the essence is to teach them diligence, friendship. We should encourage them. The season 8 is a far cry from where the championship started, there’s a great improvement and there’s still room for improvement. The channels National Kids’Cup is something everyone should be proud of and supported, it’s something that other media rich media organisation should also key into. Next year it’s not just going to be just football, I’m going to propose that we use it as an outreach, a workshopor seminar for the coach and players so that we can actually spread the goodwill and use Channels Television for that purpose”.