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I’m giving back to society through ‘Legends Reunion Match’, Unity Cup tourney-Akwuegbu

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By Sab Osuji

Former Nigeria international, Benedict Akwuegbu, says his motive in organising the ‘Ben Akwuegbu Unity Cup Tournament and Plateau Legends Reunion match was to give back to society what the society helped him to achieve as well as his desire to aide football revival and awareness by bringing back together those famous players who made the game thick during the glorious era of football in the country, Orient Sports reports.

“In those days, our stadiums were always filled to capacity whenever Plateau United, Mighty Jets, JIB Rocks were to play”, Akwuegbu who is called Austria Bomber began.

Football, 2002 FIFA World Cup Finals, Group F, Osaka, Japan, 12th June 2002, Nigeria 0 v England 0, England’s Paul Scholes is watched carefully by Nigeria’s Benedict Akwuegbu, Credit: POPPERFOTO/JOHN MCDERMOTT (Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images)

“It used to be more than a local derby match, El Classico, or whatever. Then, you talk about Rangers versus IICC Shooting Stars; Rangers versus Plateau United; Rangers versus Mighty Jets or Rangers versus Bendel Insurance or Raccah Rovers.

“That was an era when the fans go out there to identify not only with their darling clubs but more so to watch and cheer their idols display their extraordinary skills.

“Those were the days of golden era for Nigeria football. Those were the days our football commanded extraordinary acceptance and followership and this is what I want to do, recreation such electrifying moments at stadiums by bringing those ‘Legends’ together so that the younger generation of footballers and fans will see them play again and learn from them”, Akwuegbu said to Orient Sports.

On March 22, Akwuegbu test ran his pivotal project inside the Rwang Pam Stadium, Jo’s, with the Legends of Plateau United versus Legends of Mighty Jets clash.

Plateau United Legends had NFF Technical Director, Bitrus Bewarang as coach while Mighty Jets Legend had Ben Duamlong as coach.

Plateau United, which also paraded Super Eagles Coordinator, Patrick Pascal MON, won 3-2 with Sambo Choji scoring a brace.

A look at Plateau United Legends on the night reveals superstars who made the game thick not only in the club but at the national team level as well as in Europe.

Goalkeeper Garaba Okala, midfielder Sam Pam junior, Victor Wilkadson, Pascal Patrick, Sani Adamu (captain), Patrick Mancha, Tony Ogharandukwu, Salisu Nakande, Sambo Choji, Danjuma Isandu and Balele Nakande were all on duty and replicated those qualities they were known for and which made them famous despite obvious age disadvantage.

Similarly, Mighty Legends put on show such players as Bobnata Danjuma, Sylvester Ekoja  (captain), Habu Lapepe, Tijani Zololo, Ali Keegan, Garba Bombers, Fatai Yekini, Ben Akwuegbu, Kelechi Okoye, Bature Saleh, Auwulu ‘Killer’, Thomas Ekoja, Emeka Richard,  Shehu Laka, Ado Ubanta an Abbas Jimoh.

Akwuegbu extolled the contributions of Plateau State Commissioner for Sports Victor Lapang, the State’s Director of Sports, Simon Moven and FA Chairman, Sunday Langbap for the success of the inaugural tournament and revealed plans to expand the tournament for the second edition.

“We are overwhelmed by the huge support we received from the Plateau State Sports Commissioner, the Director of Sports and FA Chairman.

“We are also indebted to NFF Technical Director, Bitrus Bewarang, Coach Ben Duamlong and Ismaila Mabo.

“We are already planning ahead for the second edition which hopefully will take place in October or November this year.

“Besides, we are working on increasing the number of participating Legends Teams to include other teams from Jos like JIB Rocks, JUTH or even JC Raiders”, Akwuegbu concluded.

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