Bendel Insurance of Benin on Saturday at the Sam Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, defeated Akwa Starlets of Uyo by a lone goal to win the maiden South South Champion of Champions tournament, which featured all the Federation Cup winners in the geo-political zone.
The pulsating encou-nter witnessed by a host of football enthu-siasts, including retired international footballers, saw the 1978 national Challenge Cup champions producing a moment of magic in the 72nd minute to down the stubborn Starlets.
The game had been flowing until that moment when Insurance was awarded a free kick close to Akwa Starlets box. Everybody expected Insurance to attempt to score from the distance, but the Roland Ewere-tutored lads had a different idea. Rather than shoot from the distance, Meyiwa rolled the ball for on-rushing William to cross for Peter Iyamu, who finished delightfully to crown his team champions of the competition.
Earlier, the Edo All Stars defeated a team of former internationals by a lone goal to win a novelty match, which preceded the final game.
The novelty match featured such known retired players as Austin Eguavoen, Kingsley Obiekwu, Joe Okoh, Ambrose Vanzekin, Tony Emoedofu, Edema Fuludu, Emmanuel Okonebho, Karimu Shuaibu, Prince Afejuku, Wilson Oboh and Ndubuisi Okosieme, among others.
The competition, organised by the Edo FA and sponsored by FROT Group, featured eight teams namely the host state’s FA Cup kings, Inneh Stars, Dynamite FC, Insurance (Edo); J. Atete, Delta Force (Delta); Yenagoa Academy (Bayelsa), Akwa Starlets and Go Round FC (Rivers).
For winning the competition, Insurance went home with a N1 million prize, while Akwa Starlets received N500,000, just as all the teams got N100, 000 appearance prize.
Players and officials of both finalists got medals, while Akwa Starlets’ Wisdom Fenado won the Golden Boot donated by junior international, Isaac Success, for the best player of the competition.
Speaking after the competition, FROT Group President, Frank Momoh, commended the teams for living up to expectations, while promising to continue sponsoring the event.
In attendance at the competition were Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick, NFF Technical Committee Chairman, Chris Green, former Bendel Insurance Coach, Alabi Aisien, former national team defender, Sam Ikedia, Granada FC striker, Isaac Success and some members of the Edo State government, among others.