Henson Demonstration School, Edo State defeated Holy Ghost College, Imo State 2-0 in the final to win the 2017 NNPC/Shell Cup at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Tuesday.
Arase Iyobor’s brace from the penalty mark was all the Benin City based school needed to lift the coveted diadem of the 19th edition of the annual football championship among secondary schools in Nigeria.
Head coach of Hensen Demonstration School, Chinedu Ubah said he knew his side would emerge champions after they upset the toughest side of the championship, Asegun High School from Oyo, in the final of the zonal preliminary in Ijebu Ode.
“Before God and man my heart is filled with joy. Out of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) we came top as number one, it’s awesome and I personally feel elated and happy over our victory in the final of 2017 NNPC/Shell Cup championship.
“Of course, we saw our eventual victory coming right from the zonal preliminaries, especially after we defeated Oyo in the zonal final, the strongest team in the championship.
“Our opponents are good but we capitalised on their mistakes among their back men, we watched their semi final clash against Sambo Secondary School and even though they won we discovered that their defence was not good and I simply asked my attackers to work on them and it paid off greatly.
“We are excited to win our first NNPC/Shell Cup title and I promise we will be available to successfully defend the trophy next year with an even a better squad,” Ubah said.
In the third place match played earlier at the same venue, Government Day Secondary School, Lamisula, Borno State defeated Sambo Secondary School, Gusau, Zamfara by 5-3 on penalties after the match ended 2-2 at the normal regulation period.
Hensen was rewarded with the prize money of N3.5 million while Holy Ghost received N2.3million. Government Day Secondary School got N1.3 million, just as Sambo School went home with N1.1million for coming fourth.
Two-goal hero, Iyobor and teammate Ahunwan Mavis emerged the two Most Valuable Players (MVPs) of the championship to embark on a trip to the Netherlands for a coaching opportunity with the youth academy of the current Dutch football league champions, Feyennoord Rotterdam FC.
Chinaemerem Iheanacho of Holy Ghost College in Owerri was voted the best midfielder while the Benin side’s goalkeeper, Chibuzor Emefuwa, was named the best goalkeeper of the championship.
The 2017 preliminaries started in May with some 54,000 students from 2,750 secondary schools across Nigeria.