BEATING OAU IS ALL THAT MATTERS- UI TEAM COACH
Yesterday, UI broke an over 20-year old jinx at the 26th edition of the NUGA games being hosted by UNILAG.
The final games in the group stage of the soccer competitions went down yesterday and in what could be termed a dramatic twist of fate, the University of Ibadan male soccer team triumphed over their rivals from Obafemi Awolowo University with a 1-0 win.
The match started with the ‘ballers’ from OAU having a clear dominance over the UI pioneers. And this was actually the case for the better part of the first half, as they did more of the attacking, forcing the pioneers into a defensive formation, as the latter remained on the lookout to go counteroffensive at the slightest opportunity. However, neither of the sides was able to break the deadlock as the game stood goallesss at the half-time break.
Judging by the lacklustre performance of UI players in the first half, observers and pundits were very quick to write them off and almost concluded that OAU will come out victorious. However, as the game progressed in the second half, the intensity of the ballers reduced and the pioneers capitalized on their little errors, this gave them the avenue to take possession and dictate the tone of the game. Most of their openings came through high passes and long range shots.
The match was almost nearing a full-time draw but Faleti’s 93rd minute header which was converted through a corner kick was the difference between the age-long rivals. It was indeed an impressive second half for the UI pioneers and a well-deserved victory. In a post-match interview with the NUGA news crew, Allen, the UI team coach attributed the win to the massive support his team received from UITES who thronged the main bowl of the UNILAG sports complex, venue of the match. He maintained that some tactical changes he effected in the second half also paid off in sealing their victory; he mentioned an instance where he had to make the necessary substitutions to curb the freehand that OAU’s captain was having at his team’s defence.
He further noted that yesterday’s win over OAU was all that mattered because both schools are rivals in many aspects.
“I feel so good winning this match because it is a local derby in the south west and OAU has been really tormenting us for over twenty years, so it is a good thing winning them, it is not qualifying or topping the table but beating OAU”, he said.
With the win over OAU, UI pioneers have conveniently progressed to the next stage of the football competition and they would be facing the hosts, UNILAG this evening by 4:00pm.
Similarly, the UI female soccer team have also made a headway into the quarter finals after defeating FUTMINNA 4-2 yesterday. Equally, medals have been won by UI in different categories; the female swimming team have won silver, the Taekwondo team have clinched bronze and Squash team have won the silver medals.