Elation, ecstasy, exhilaration, elatedness, and euphoria (enters inner Peter Drury) all around as the initial edition of the revamped SEALS cup took its bedding in the University of Ibadan. Smiles and celebrations were on the faces of tens to hundreds of fans across the University as they shuttled the new Awo stadium and the old S.U.B pitch to cheer on their respective teams.
Contrary to the initial 32 proposed, the tournament started with 28 teams cut across 7 groups. Bearing in mind controversial late entries by the departments of Industrial Production Engineering and Religious Studies after the tournament draws had been finalized.
After the group stages, the top 2 teams in each group will progress into the knockouts with a further two best-performing third-placed teams joining the ranks to make an even 16.
Matchday 1 Review
The opening fixture saw Educational Management lock heads with Public health in a seemingly entertaining game. Officiated by the UI school team gaffer in the person of coach Allen, the game started on the front foot with both sides playing beautiful end-to-end football.
A little bit over the 10-minute mark, Zik hall’s Shalom and captain of the Education side stole the ball in midfield drove to the byline, and sent in a square play that was duly converted for the first goal of the tournament. Their opposition picked themselves up and got into the game as they won and converted a penalty to secure a stalemate at halftime. The boys in yellow came into the 2nd 45 with renewed vigor and put two free kicks past the Education Management team under the tutelage of theTioluAdonai to cart home the competition’s first win.
Rounding up Group A, Animal science sent 3 un-replied goals past financial analysts in Economics to secure the top spot. Group B started with a goalless draw between Faculty of Arts neighbors History and Classics. The 2nd fixture saw a game marred by goalkeeping errors on both sides as Human Kinetics triumphed over Agricultural Economics with 3 goals to 2. A potential goal of the tournament was scored by UI badminton skipper Asaye the top striking for KHE. Beating two defenders before slotting an ice-cold finish past the goalie.
The tournament’s group of death in Group C had a delay in both fixtures (probably for the best). ASSE played out the tournament’s most-watched game against Physiology. Kareem Jamiu’s first-half strike was enough to deny Dipo a clean sheet in a game stalled briefly owing to a broken hand suffered by physiology’s Moshood Ibrahim (Pluto). The 2nd fixture was quite an exciting science derby between Microbiology and Chemistry ending in a 4 goal thriller. Chemistry netted one, MCB replied. Chemistry hit one again, MCB replied almost immediately yet again straight from kick-off with Farouq finishing off a well-practiced training move.
Group D saw the highest-scoring game thus far as UI forward Bolu (Baba Ibadan) skippered his team to a 5-1 victory over pharmacy. Supposed tournament favorites Sociology played out a goalless draw with Veterinary Medicine. Unentertaining Group E had both fixtures end in 1-1 draws Laris vs Geology as well as Law’s game with Philosophy.
Psychology’s late charge wasn’t enough to upset Geography as they succumbed to a 3-2 loss in Group F. Guaranteeing Agricultural Engineering top spot courtesy 200 level Bellite Ehis’ well-taken brace against Religious studies. Late tournament additions IPE triumphed 1-0 against Forestry and Indy sports commissioner J.Dammy’s Political science securing a 2-0 victory over Anthropology and Archaeology to round off Group G.
The remainder of the matchday 2 group stage fixtures should be concluded by Tuesday, November 30th. Noteworthily, Public health and Statistics have now progressed to the next round with Economics and Pharmacy getting knocked out bar whatever happens in their respective final fixtures.
Kudos to the Ezeala Marvelous Major-led committee who have put in a very good shift considering they’ve had to re-strategize as enough teams didn’t register for the tourney. Spelling they had to work around a reduced budget. However, there could be improvements in complaints made about officiating and medical provisions during games.