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    FUOYE Shines at ESFAL’s Opening

    Chinedu Okafor

    Following kick-off of the 2024 third season of the Ekiti State Football Association League (ESFAL) at the Afe Babalola University Sports complex, Ado Ekiti, the University’s football team (FUOYE DAZZLERS) joined the list of other 36 teams jostling for the coveted top prize, with an impressive opening match win against its visiting counterpart, Harmony FC of Ado Ekiti.

    The Ekiti State Football Association League is an annual 2nd tier league or competition held in the state with the aim of identifying and harnessing grassroot football development as well as evolving a sustainable football ecosystem.

    With just 3 years of its existence, it had sought and harvested talented grassroot players from across various institutions and groups, most of who had been injected into the mainstream league.

    However, this year’s season saw a huge expansion in terms of teams’ participation from 20 club sides recorded last year to 36 teams vieing for the top glory on the league table.

    In what proved to be an enthralling encounter between the two sides, FUOYE Dazzlers on their home ground, did not fail to make perceptible imprint by ensuring an early dominance after their 3rd minute opener against Harmony FC.

    It skyrocketed into a rollercoaster scenario in just after 21 minutes of play, when FUOYE Dazzlers found the back of the net the 2nd time, dominating ball possession and exhibiting superb football inter-play for the remaining part of the half.

    It, however, became a slight nail-biting scenario at the return to the 2nd half when the visiting team changed their tactical style of play and quickly responded with a goal.

    The Home side, FUOYE Dazzlers in their unflinching resolve and doggedness in ensuring it ended in their favour, closed in all gaps to an opportunity of ever finding an equalizer, consequently leading their group with a 3 maximum point after the 2-1 victory.

    In a brief chat with FUOYE News, after the match, the Ekiti State Football Association Chairman, Comrade Aare Oluwole Oloworemo, who expressed mixed feelings of elation and surprise especially at the huge turn out of spectators who had thronged to support their favourite team, said that he was at an all-time high because it showed that people were now aware of this competition.

    He said: “I will say that despite the non-availability of all facilities needed for this competition, people still came out en masse to watch.

    “We are here to ensure that grassroot football develops at the highest level in the state and at the end of the day, the best players identified will be harnessed and promoted into the Nigeria National League(NNL) and Nation Wide League One (NLO).”

    Also speaking, FUOYE Director of Sports, Mr. Christopher Obajaja, said he was quite happy with the performance of the university’s male football team, saying although they had gotten their desired result, the players should not imbibe a feeling of complacency because there are other areas that needed improvement.

    “I trust the boys and they also played to instruction today.we will keep surging forward until we finally lift the trophy,” Obajaja said.

    Head Coach of FUOYE Dazzlers, Blessing Ayodeji Ojo, equally extolled his team’s performance and noted that the first match of any competition was always an avenue to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of any team, inferring that his team would keep improving as they hope to advance through the tougher stages of the competition.

    Meanwhile, Harmony FC Coach, Olamide Idiola, expressed optimism that despite his team’s away loss to FUOYE Dazzlers, he and his team would not be deterred in securing the maximum points required to come out tops in the league.

    FUOYE Dazzlers alongside Harmony FC, Golden FC and OLUKISMET Feeder are in Group C of the competition with each team to lurk horns with one another on home and away grounds.

    Photo Credit ‘ Bamidele Adesunloye

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