It was an occasion of bliss and glitz as the long awaited 20212022 Ikukuoma Mbaise Unity Cup was kicked off today, the 8th day of January 2022 at Ezeagbogu Secondary School in Ezinihitte Mbaise LGA of Imo State.
The tournament, being initiated and sponsored by High Chief Dr. Summers V.C Nwokie (Aka Jo Ikuku 1), which has been the most talked about footballing event in Mbaise nation and beyond, was well attended and truly lived up to the expectations of the organizers, as well as the guests who kept on thronging to the venue even after the event had ended.
There were a lot of dignitaries who graced the occasion in solidarity, support and love for the sporting event.
Leading the pack of the distinguished personalities whose presence added glamour and evoked cheers from the crowd are, the Member representing Ahiazu/Ezinihitte constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Chinedu and the Ezinihitte Mbaise House of Assembly rep, Hon. Barr. Anyadike Nwosu; the General Manager of Nigeria’s Professional League side, Heartland Football Club, Mr. Promise Nwachukwu was also on ground.
Others are the Chairman of PDP in Ezinihitte, Hon. Chijioke Modestus Njoku, Prince Emeka Ogbodudu, Engr. Kingsley Onwubiko who sponsored this years official track suit, Hon. Chima Emezuem, Hon. Agochi Mgbeoduru, Hon Promise Enogwe, Mr. Okey Anyankah, Mr. Okedum Jackson and all the PDP Youth Leadersin Ezinihitte as well as the Secretary of Heartland Football Club, Mr. Anozie.
The siblings of High Chief Dr. Nwokie were also present at the event. Messrs. Promise Nwokie, Chibuogwu Nwokie and Ebuka Nwokie.
The opening prayer was said by Prince Emeka Ogbodudu, while the fast rising choral group, Dulciana Ensemble( Musical Section of the Foundation) followed up with spectacular renditions which held the audience spell bound, resulting in endless applauds and excitement.
The Director General of the facilitating humanitarian organization, Ikukuoma Foundation, Comrade Julius Nnaji made the opening/welcome speech, highlighting the essence and benefits of the tournament, while imploring for continued support and decorum from the participating teams as well as the teams’ supporters and spectators.
The official kick was made by the General Manager of Heartland Football Club, Mr. Nwachukwu, flanked by Hon. Chinedu and a host of other dignitaries, after which the debut match started in earnest.
The game was between the two finalists of the last edition, Okpofe football team (decked in blue) and Nnarambia Football team (decked in lemon) and the match ended in a deadlock as the teams scored a goal apiece.
Nnarambia opened scoring in the 8th minute of the first half through a goal mouth scramble and maintained the lead all through the first half. In the second half, the team from Okpofe equalized via a deserved penalty, after one of their players was badly infringed upon in the penalty area, in the 15th minute of the second half.
Only one player change was recorded in the match and it came from Nnarambia FC.
The match officials that were engaged in the encounter are
Charles Anyanwu (Referee)
Asst 1.) Onyegbulem MO
Asst 2.) Kingsley Elesimoke
Match commissioner: Engr Njoku Alex.
The event comperes were
Messrs. MC Ezenwata and Alex.
The entire management and staff of Ikukuoma Foundation were fully on ground, ensuring that everything went as planned.
There was enough refreshments for both the players and the spectators alike.
The event finally came to a climax after the end of the debut match,, with pleasure and satisfaction on the faces of everyone present.
Other subsequent matches will be played in the different venues located in the three Local Government Areas that make up the Mbaise nation as the tournament progresses, with the finals to be played yet again at Ezeagbogu Secondary School field.
To God be the glory