By: Kelvin Omachonu
Sports is an essential part of Independence Hall, and this was duly inculcated in the new Katangites, as the Freshers Week had its Sports Day. Although initially scheduled for Friday, 13 August, 2021, the much-anticipated Freshers vs Stalites was played on Saturday morning, just before the orientation programme.
Things were a bit different this year, as due to the pandemic, the academic activities in the university have been hampered. The major part of the first semester was virtual. So, what used to be a first-semester event had to be shifted to the second semester.
The stalites have always had the upper hand in every freshers vs stalites match, recording landslide victories annually. Last year’s 13-3 demolition is enough proof of that. Nevertheless, The freshers were undeterred by the daunting task ahead of them as they went into the fixture with the mindset of winning the game.
The regular venue, the Independence Hall Maracana, was filled with both stalites and freshers on either side of the pitch, with both parties throwing jibes from both ends. These jibes and the general vibes are what make the freshers vs stalies match scintillating.
The match kicked off by 10:30 a.m. The stalites controlled play for the bulk of the first half, but lacked the chemistry to conjure something good to trouble the keeper. The freshers maintained excellent defensive play and occasionally threatened the stalites. Due to the physical and fast-paced nature of the game, substitutions sufficed after a few minutes.
As the first half wore on without the stalites scoring, the freshers’ confidence kept on rising. However, stalites maintained the bulk of possession. Their possession finally paid off a few minutes to halftime, as Okereafor Victor pounced on a defensive blunder from the freshers and fired home from close range.
The goal gave the stalites a huge confidence boost, going into the second half. However, the freshers felt pleased with the first half result, unaware of what awaited them in the second half.
The second half looked like it would be an epic showdown when Jayeoba Samuel scored for the freshers just after the stalites got their second goal. However, it was not the case as the stalites started to slide into the freshers’ defence like a hot knife through butter. The stalites increased the tempo, and the goals began to pour in. Micheal Oyeyemi, Agboola Raphael, Jimoh Ibrahim and Adams Joshua were the principal destroyers as the stalites walloped the Freshers 8-1.
The stalites could have scored more, but for the brilliance of the freshers’ goalkeeper. In the end, the stalites upheld the Indy Hall maxim that there are some peculiarities to Maracana matches that only a truly experienced Katangite can successfully navigate.