Posted by Nelson Dafe, Benin City | 7 April 2014 | 5,059 times
Ahead of the kick-off, today in Benin City, of the Edo State Challenge Cup, last year’s winners Dynamite Force FC, a national amateur outfit, are seriously preparing to retain the trophy. News Express was at the main bowl of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium where the players were being put through their paces in the early morning by one of the coaches, Tony Emoedofu (ex-Golden Eaglets star of China ’85 fame).
Speaking with News Express, chief coach of Dynamite Force FC, Johnbull Omoregie, said: “We are fully prepared (to do well in the Challenge Cup).”
After an impressive year by the team last season, a number of top players left to further their careers. But Omoregie says his team are well stocked with other talented players who can weather the Challenge Cup storm. Amongst them is a young goals-scoring sensation, Priestly Irogue, who was the highest goal scorer for the team in the same competition last year with six goals in five matches.
However, the coach reserves respect for other competing teams in the competition, stating that there are no pushovers in this year’s Edo state Challenge Cup. His words: “Any team that registers for a tournament are capable of winning it. All the clubs that registered for this FA cup are good teams.”
Unlike neighbouring states like Delta where their state challenge cup competition enjoys lucrative corporate sponsorships, Edo State’s football association usually lacks the support of huge sponsorship of its Challenge Cup. Omoregie urged the Edo FA to “put heads together to look for sponsorship of subsequent editions of the competition.”
Dynamite were awarded last year’s Edo State Challenge Cup trophy after an ugly incident in the final match against Bendel Insurance led to the abandonment of the game. An Insurance player had knocked the centre referee unconscious with a punch after he was sent off the pitch. Omoregie expressed optimism that the state FA would put measures in place to forestall such unfortunate incidents this time. “What happened was largely to the detriment (of the image) of the Edo state FA,” he said, adding: “I believe they have to tighten up the code of conduct concerning the tournament.”
•Photo shows current national champions Enyimba International of Aba, celebrating their victory in last year's edition of the competition known at the national level as Federations Cup.
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