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Ooni launches soccer academy in Ile Ife

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has inaugurated the Ojaja II Football Academy, in Ile Ife, Osun.

The Ooni said the academy would boost Nigeria’s fortune in football and create career opportunities for younger generation of lovers of the game.

He unveiled the academy at Oduduwa College playing ground, during the final match of the maiden edition of Ojaja II football competition, on Wednesday, in Ile-Ife.

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Ooni commended the organisers of the tournament for the initiative, adding that football had the capacity to unite the entire nation.

The royal father also lauded the peace loving people of Ile Ife for their large turnout and calm conduct throughout the competition.

He revealed that the competition would be extended to other all states across the South/West geopolitical zone, and Nigeria at large.

To the admiration of thousands of football fans present, Ooni kicked the ball which commenced the final match of the tournament.

Th final leg was between Oduduwa College, Ile Ife and Olode High School, Garage-Olode, Ife South Local Government area of the state.

The score line was opened by Olasunkanmi Iyiola, Oduduwa College’s goalkeeper through a free-kick to give the home side an early lead after 12 minutes into the match.

This was before Fidelis David fired from a close range to equalise for Olode High School in the first half.

In the second half, Ojetayo Gbolahan scored to give Olode the lead before Edun Olamide responded with a penalty kick.

An extra time was declared to know the winner, where Oduduwa College emerged victorious with goals from Oni Timileyin and Adebiyi Femi.

In the third place match played earlier in the day, Ife City College, Ile Ife defeated L.A Grammar School, Ipetumodu by 3:1.

Olasunkanmi Iyiola of Oduduwa College  emerged as the best goalkeeper, Abdulahi Awesu (Oduduwa College) was the next rated footballer.

Ebun Olamide (Oduduwa College) was the highest goal scorer with nine goals, while Ariyo Mathew was the best player in the tournament.

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In his remarks, the Project Director, Mr. Akinola Martins, expressed that  grassroot football had come to stay in Nigeria, with Ooni’s keen interest in youth empowerment.

Martins said that the tournament had produced a lot of football talents that would be mentored towards breakthrough in their chosen career.

Dignitaries at the event included Hon. Lanre Moyero, who is a FIFA licensed football agent and the CEO, Moyero Football Academy, Russia, Asiwaju Akintunde Ayeni (YEMKEM), among other prominent personalities.

In a sober reflection, Ooni led the crowd to observe a minute silence in honour of the late sports icon, who was the Chairman of Osun State Football Association, Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, who died recently.(NAN)