By ABIRHIRE THOMAS
It was all praises and felicitations as Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Eluonye Onyenuchea Irabor, landed on the soil of the Delta on Thursday December 29, 2022 for an all-important social cum sports event.
The event that was purposefully the 9th edition of IHU-IYASE Football Competition 2022 has been hosted and sponsored for nine years now by the gallantly anti-terrorism fine officer, who for many years had served at the theartre of war in the North East climbing from Major General to Lieutenant General until he ascended to the peak of his career as Chief of Defence Staff and hanged the meritorious rank of a full star General till date.
The soccer championship was co-hosted this year by the by the Commanding Officer, 181 Amphibious Battalion Nigerian Army, Agbor, Lt Col Aliyu N. Abubakar. The battalion in Agbor is under the Six Division Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Our Correspondent in the South South, who witnessed the fascinating sports event, described the entry of General Irabor into the Agwa-Ewuru Secondary School, Ewuru, Agbor soccer arena as elegant.
The DEFENDER reports that the compound name ‘IHU-IYASE’ represents nine communities among which Alihame Football Club and Aligwha Football Club that squared up for the trophy in the final match on Thursday come from.
Remarkably, this year’s championship turned out not to return in favour of the defending champion that won the 8th edition in 2021, the Ewuru Football Club, as it was not able to make it to Thursday’s final stage but go home with third position during the just concluded IHU-IYASE Championship 2022 put together by Ndidi Felix and Kiama Isoko.
In the final match between Alihame Football Club and Aligwah Football Club while each worked hard with intent to win the trophy on Thursday, Aligwah FC sent Alihame FC behind to settle down with second position, while it went home with the trophy and all the medals accompanying the topmost win of the year’s soccer championship.
What cannot, however, be wished away in a hurry is that, Alihame FC did more of the playing with classic strikers in the field although, by fate, it was beaten by Aligwha FC which showed the utilised its finishing chances by a lone goal in the first half of the final match, scored by number 14 jersey wearing David John.
At the end of the event, the lead sponsor of the soccer championship, General LEO Irabor, psc, NAM, GSS, ndc, FCMH, made the winning Aligwha FC go home with N500,000 accompanying the cup and medals, while Alihame FC got N250,000 and medals as well.
Described as “The People’s General” by admirers of football who commented on the tournament, General Irabor, who was accompanied to the soccer arena by his wife, Barr. Veronica Irabor, personally made the presentations to all the deserving winners.
Highlights of the day was the picture frame presented to highly appreciated General LEO Irabor by the Commanding Officer 181 Amphibious Battlion, Lt. Col. AN Abubakar.
In his remarks, the Chief of Defence Staff thanked all guests that honored invitation to be part of the football tournament, saying that he started sponsoring the tournament for nine years now and promised that he continue to sponsor it on yearly basis.