From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Nnewi industrial community, Anambra State has witnessed a beach football tournament, held for the first time in Anambra and South East of Nigeria, generally.
The month-long tournament kicked off at the newly opened Moonshine Residence, strategically located at Madubuko Street behind Ezeudoka, Uru, Umudim, Nnewi in Nnewi North Council Area.
The sporting event organized by a Nnewi-born human resource manager, consultant, and lecturer based in the United States of America, Professor Victor Mmadubuko, kicked off on Sunday, May 21, at the beach court within the premises of the hospitality facility.
Participating eight teams in the tournament are drawn from Innoson Group, Gabros, Chicason Group, Moniepoint, OTC, Moonshine, Cutix Plc, and Tummy Tummy.
Project director of Moonshine Residence, Mr Ralph Emeka, told reporters that each of the eight teams would play three games before moving up to the final.
He said the winning team would go home with a trophy, and N100,000; while others would receive different categories of consolation prizes.
Mr Emeka noted that there would be awards for the highest goal scorer, most behaved team, and most valuable player, among other prizes.
While explaining the nature of beach football, the project director, an ex-Rangers International footballer said it was a type of football played at the beach, with enough sand on the pitch.
“Moonshine brings the beach in the residence at a very high cost to serve its customers and the neighbourhood. The tournament is a fusion of beach and regular football.
“Three persons play per time on each side. The rule of the game is different, as there is no penalty, no throw-in, no corner-kick, and so on, ” he said.
Fielding questions from journalists, the operations manager of the facility, Mrs Ofodile Chidimma said the tournament would last for one month, adding that it would be played Saturdays and Sundays.
Mrs Ofodile explained that the beach was brought to the residence to serve as a recreational facility for customers who patronized the business and also people who lived within the neighbourhood.
In the same vein, former Anambra State Commissioner for Sports, Dr Emma Nsoedo, noted that the beach football facility would be an added advantage to the patrons of the facility and other Nnewi residents.
The Crown Prince of Nnewi, Prince Obi Orizu told reporters that the sports facility was the first of its kind in the area. He expressed optimism that it would serve as a tourist attraction to Nnewi and its environs.
“This innovation is the first of its kind in Nnewi. It will go a long way to improving sports in Nnewi and beyond. It will help in solving societal problems associated with idleness and inactivity, ” he noted.
Prince Orizu came in the company of the former Deputy Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon Chukwudi Orizu who lauded the efforts of Prof. Mmadubuko in introducing the novel sporting event to Nnewi.
He noted that it would spur other Nnewi indigenes abroad to imbibe the spirit of think-home philosophy, saying that governments at all levels should show much interest in sports and sporting events.
Meanwhile, the opening match played between Chicason Afro-Asia and Innoson Group teams ended 7:3 against Chicason Afro-Asia; while the second match played later the same day between Moniepoint and OTC teams ended 14:4 against OTC.
Saturday, May 27 is fixed for the second leg of the match.
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