National Youth games: 7-man Imo soccer team hailed for beating Anambra 2-0



Football stakeholders, on Monday, hailed Imo male football team for defeating Anambra 2-0 with only seven players, at the South East zonal elimination of the National Youth Games in the Ebonyi capital.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that soccer fans were dumbfounded over the development in the encounter played at the Pa Ngele Oruta stadium, Abakaliki.The fans expressed their amazement at the manner the seven players completely overwhelmed their Anambra  opponents with good football artistry, culminating in two superb goals.Ramsome Madu, the Coach of the team, described his wards’ performance as awesome, noting that they could have won the series if majority of his players were not disqualified by the officials.“My players were disqualified by the officials for being ineligible to compete, despite efforts made to prove their eligibility.“

We duly protested to the relevant authorities, but it was unfortunately discarded,” he said.The defunct Iwuanyanwu Nationale FC of Owerri’s right full-back, said that the development had adversely affected the team’s overall performance despite its show of brilliance.“The officials only spared five of our players which made us ineligible to compete in the zonal elimination series.”

The officials, however, cleared two more players which enabled us to prosecute our matches with seven players and no substitutes.“We lost 0-1 to Abia, were walked-over against Ebonyi due to fatigue and we defeated Anambra after resting adequately,” he said.Mrs Jane Owoh, South East Zonal Director, Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development told NAN that Imo was not the only state affected by disqualifications in the elimination series.“

The regulations guiding the series stipulates that only athletes under 15 years of age can compete and Imo players were found to be above the age limit.“The Imo officials could not submit relevant documents to substantiate their players’ eligibility and this measure affected other states in several events,” he said.Simpson Njeze, a football fan in Ebonyi, however, urged the Imo officials to groom the players for future assignments, while addressing the lapses that led to the disqualification. (NAN)