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Player raising winner's trophy

The golden boys of Excel Education Centre, Port Harcourt clinched the 18th edition of the NNPC/Shell Cup with a 3:2 victory over their counterparts from Fosla Academy, Abuja.

The prize money is a total of N8.2million – N3.5m for the 1st position; N2.3m for the 2nd position; N1.3m and N1.1 for the 3rd and the 4th positions respectively.

Kelvin Amadi of Excel school and Joseph Ejeh of Fosla were selected by the coaching crew from Feyenoord Academy, as the two best players of the 2016 tournament and would be sponsored for a training tour to The Netherlands.

In the match watched played at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere Lagos, Joseph Tari of Excel opened the goals in the 13th minute of play when he beat the Fosla defenders and the goalkeeper to lob the ball in the net. The thunderous applause from the team’s supporters was short-lived as Solomon Abraham of Fosla Academy delivered an equaliser in the 14th minute. Jacob Bamaiyi shot the Excel boys back to the lead in the 33rd minute of play.

The second half saw Tari finding the net again to give victory comfort to his team. In a brilliant show of resilience and determination, Solomon converted a penalty to score the second goal for his side.

The Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mr. Osagie Okunbor commended the discipline exhibited by the students and charged them to live by that standard even away from the pitch. “The final match is highly competitive but I cannot but commend the level of discipline and fair displayed by the boys,” he said. “They should keep that behaviour in their studies and indeed in everything they do.”

Earlier, the boys from the Government Science Secondary School, Bauchi had defeated their Asegun Comprehensive High School, Ibadan team by 4:3 in a keenly contested yet very entertaining third place match.

Over 700,000 students have participated in the championship since inception in 1998 and some of the participants have gone on to play for the national teams and international clubs.

The annual tournament, Nigeria’s flagship secondary school soccer championship, is organised by the Nigeria Schools Sports Federation and sponsored by the SPDC joint venture.