Team CUALA narrowly missed out on the final to finish third as Bells University emerged champions of the Alumni Novelty Football tournament to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State.
The event which took place at the Campos Mini Stadium, Lagos was organised by the Covenant University Alumni Association (CUALA).
It had six university alumni teams namely Afe Babalola University, Bells University, Covenant University (host), Landmark University, Redeemers University, and the University of Ibadan.
The event kicked off with three knock-out rounds and in the first knock-out match between Redeemers University and Afe Babalola University, Redeemers won 2-1 to advance.
The second knock-out match between Landmark University and the University of Ibadan ended in a 1-1 draw at full-time. UI won the penalty shoot-out 3-2.
In the local derby – a clash to determine who rules Ota, Covenant University took on Bells University of Technology and the match also ended in a penalty round after a 1-1 draw. 15 minutes into the game, Bells opened scoring from open play and took the lead into the break.
When second half action resumed, Team CUALA pumped up the heat and their efforts paid off when Leroy Datuowei scored with a fantastic header. After regulation time, the result stayed 1-1. Unfortunately, the Bishop David Oyedepo boys lost 4-3 in the penalty shootout.
Both teams met again in the semis and the result didn’t change. Bells University beat Covenant University 1-0 to reach the final. In the second semi-final match, the University of Ibadan beat Redeemers University 3-2 via penalties to book a final place after they played 1-1 at full time.
In the third-place match, Covenant University beat Redeemers University 1 – 0 courtesy of another fine goal by Leroy Datuowei. Bells University took their fine form into the final to beat the University of Ibadan 2-1.
The President of CUALA, Kemi Onabanjo-Joseph said the novelty match has produced the right mood to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the institution.
“In commemorating the 20th anniversary of our beloved alma mater, Covenant University, we thought it would be important to extend the celebration to the broader society, including other alumni communities,” she said.
Onabanjo-Joseph added, “Football is a unifying game and despite how competitive it can get, we decided to leverage the novelty tournament as a platform to bring communities together for value exchange. The event turned out even better than we expected.
“All the teams brought their A-games, new friendships were formed, and we are sure that the connections made yesterday will be value-adding. We are grateful to the alumni associations that accepted our invitation and look forward to an expanded tournament next year and beyond.”