An 80th minute scrambled goal by Clement ‘Sago’ Ogu was just enough to save the day for a collection of players from the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), as they settled for a 1-1 draw against foreign-based products of Ajegunle, Lagos-based youth club, Bello Boys FC.
The players from overseas had gone ahead as early as the tenth minute of play through a well-taken direct free-kick by Olusegun Agani, in the exhibition match at Naval Barracks, Boundary-Ajegunle.
The NPFL selected side, which featured the likes of Ayo Saka from Sunshine Stars of Akure, Godstime Onuador of ABS FC of Ilorin and Godwin ‘Wambe’ Aguda of Rangers International of Enugu, missed the services of Warri Wolves ace, Sikiru Alimi, who only turned up to witness the occasion but did not play.
Outstanding for the foreign-based pros, captained by Portugal-based Austin Gallardo, was USA-based Paul Banney, who was not officially invited for the game but said he had to make himself available in solidarity for the club that produced some of his closest pals.
The match was the highpoint of activities marking the 27th year anniversary and first ever reunion day of Bello Boys, whose founding coach, Bello Sani traveled with his two daughters all the way from his current base in Sweden to witness the event.
The historic day, which also featured exciting music performances by Ajegunle-born pop stars, Fletcherman, Pacman, Raymond King and Gbaji, began with a dress rehearsal game between the current senior team of Bello Boys and their intermediate squad colleagues.
The intermediate lads, handled by assistant coach, Martin Uwanaka, carried the day 2-1, with an opening penalty by Kazeem Yinusa and an own goal by, Audu Yusuf, while Anietie Udoh got the consolation for the senior side led by Coach Sule Ahmedu.
The day’s activities took a solemn stage when a minute’s silence was declared for some late products of the team – Akoji ‘Akor’ Ahmedu, Lucky Esuore and Emmanuel Ogoli – who died before they could showcase their talents at the highest level of Nigerian football.
Chairman of the day, Apostle Stephen Ampey, the club’s former financier, who inspired their change of name to Christ Ambassador’s Soccer Academy, said during half time of the main game that he was happy to be part of the dream, which he noted received a glorious height when they won the 2015 edition of Lagos State Federation Cup.