Telecom Games: Etisalat Grabs Football Gold


.MTN Tops Medals Table

It has always been the biggest fixture of the Nigeria Telecoms Games (NTG) football event and the befitting finals of 2013 edition between cup holders, MTN and their perennial challengers; Etisalat lived up that billing. The head-to-head count between the two sides had MTN with a huge advantage with four wins in five meetings.
Etisalat got their solitary win before Sunday’s finals in a group stage 1-0 defeat of MTN in 2012, and then lost 2-0 when they met again in the finals of that edition. Etisalat had a nightmarish start to the 2012 games, losing 4-0 in the opening day fixture and it looked like they  stood little chance of getting a look in to the finals this time round. But they proved bookmakers wrong, they not only recovered to snatch a final ticket in a winner takes all against Airtel, but tore the form books to shreds.

Etisalat set off early in the game to show their ambitions as they took the game to MTN, mounting pressure and putting them on backfoot. Solomon Ajala was the tormentor in chief, running at the MTN defence and trying to tear it apart.
Captain Andrew Enebeli, Femi Akinyele also posed problems and asked several questions of the MTN defence. MTN did try a fight back with Kunle Kuyinu, Yusuf Abubakar, Aliche Iheukwumere and Ubong Idung trying to unlock the Etisalat defence was resisted by the quartet of Khalid Bello, Prince Ehio, Nkemka Okocha and Usman. The first half ended nil all.
It was MTN that came into the 2nd half probing for answers, mounting pressure on Etisalat, only for Aliche Iheukwumere to fluff what was their best chance from two yards. The pressure was afterwards reversed.
Fans had to wait till the final for a goal. The sweet interchange of passes between Chianugo Onyenekwe, Nkemka Okocha, Femi Akinyele and Ore David opened up play for Osere Osunbor to run in and squeeze the ball beyond the reach of Anthony Ilo in goal for MTN.
Etisalat held on for a famous victory and their first ever football gold in the Telecoms Games. Etisalat’s Chima Nnorom won the Goalkeeper of the tournament award, while the best Defender went to Joseph Akpata (MTN), Best Midfielder went to Ubong Idung (MTN), while the Top Scorer award went to Aliche Iheukwumere, who finished the tournament with 5 goals. Etisalat’s Solomon Ajala was adjudged the MVP of the tournament.
Despite losing the football gold, MTN still finished highest on the log after garnering, 10 gold, 7 silver and 10 bronze medals. This thus makes MTN the overall champions once again sweeping medals in Chess, Scrabble, Table Tennis and Athletics. Etisalat had 4 gold, 7 silver and 4 bronze medals.

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