*We shall show our prowess in Ilorin – Lanre Idowu
*How Abdullah Fateemah become the heroine in Nasarawa
*How Al-Makura, Onyali added colour in Nasarawa
By Olajide Fashikun (Ilorin), Oluwole Francis (Nasarawa)
Host of the next edition of the Nigeria Polytechnic Games (NIPOGA), Kwara Polytechnic Ilorin have declared their intention to give the best event in 2018 when about 4,000 athletes will be competing for honours.
Rector of the host institution, Mas’ud Elelu spoke to www.gongnews.net saying, “a total of 40 or more polytechnics will be expected in Ilorin. As part of our commitment to give the best ever NIPOGA, we had started the construction of facilities to give our students quality all round education. Here, we want to return the polytechnic to the era of supplying national teams athletes.”
In the 80s, we had the record and sustained it for years. We had the likes of Barrister Abdulwahab Shittu in table tennis, Dele Owolo, Sunday James, Oye, Kayode Bankole in Volleyball. Our football team produces six Flying Eagles players at a time. We had six athletes in the handball national team. We produced Halima Ismaila for the Nigerian athletics team. Our rich history is guiding us in the next quest.”
A visit to the new sports facilities conducted by chairman of the 2018 Local organising Committee, Lanre Idowu, the Director of Student Services Gboyega Adewoye and head coach of the school
The facilities on ground: Some of the facilities on ground include an indoor sports hall that can conveniently take games like handball, volleyball, basketball, table tennis, badminton, weightlifting etc
Adjoining it are a twin tennis courts, two Volleyball courts, a handball pitch, a football pitch with room for a nine-track athletics pitch. Standing like a Greek soldier ready for war is the Squash Racket hall with two playing courts.
According to Mr Idowu, with these facilities all we need are minimal structures which we shall be able to put in place before the date that will eventually be decided for us to host. Most of our facilities as you can see are already on ground.
Kudos to our great athletes: In the 19th edition of the NIPOGA in Nasarawa, we were very strategic due to budgetary constraints to take the available medals we had from nine athletes who delivered two gold medals, three silver and three bronze. If we had the luxury of financial support, I wonder if any polytechnic would have defeated us because of the quality of athletes in the college. By the 20th edition, when all our athletes will be at home and compete in all the events, I am sure we shall show our prowess as the authentic leader of sports in Nigerian polytechnic system.
The athletes who did our college proud in Nasarawa include Abdullah Fateemah who won gold in the 55kg in Taekwondo with the duo of Are Oluwabunmi and Adunoye Racheal who won the gold in the Women’s Double in tennis.
The silver medal came from Olaitan Mariam in the 45kg in Taekwondo, Are Oluwabunmi in the Women’s Single in Tennis, while we got silver also in the badminton Men’s team delivered by the quartet of Sanni Olatunji, Abubakar Lekan Abdullah, Habeeb Hassan Olaoluwa and Yusuf Tosho Saliman.
The bronze medals were the works of Sanni Habeeb Olatunji who got the Men’s Single in badminton. The troika of Abdullah Fateemah and Olaitan Mariam and Adedoja Ganiat got the bronze in Poomsea in Taekwondo. Abdullah Fateemah got another bronze in Poomsea in Taekwondo.
Overall, without mincing words, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in that Games is supposed to go to Abdullah Fateemah who got a gold and two bronze medals.
How Nasarawa NIPOGA went to bed: The male football match played at the Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa Sports Stadium between host Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa and Kaduna Polytechnic was a cagey affair as both sides played cautiously. The home side created more chances but failed to convert as the first half ended 0-0.
The second half however was more open as both teams looked for the opener. But it was Kaduna who would have taken the lead through forward Abdulmojeed El-Mustapha.
The striker however fluffed his lines with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Also, the Kaduna goalkeeper, Jonathan Ayuba, who had conceded only one goal throughout the tournament showed exactly why he was one of the best in the tournament.
He stood tall between the sticks and marshalled his defensive line, making crucial saves to keep the hosts at bay.
The match ended in a goalless draw and had to be decided through the lottery of penalties as Nasarawa won 3-2 to emerge champions of the football event.
Nasarawa goalkeeper, Ifeanyi Nwanobi, was the man-of-the-match as he made two vital saves during the shootout to give his side the needed victory.
Coach Hassan Mohammed of Nasarawa after the match expressed joy over his team’s victory, acknowledging that the game was worth the final as both sides put up a very good performance.
“It is a fantastic achievement for us, especially when you look at the fact that we have always come close on several occasions to win the football event, but have always finished as runners up”
“Not many people gave us a chance, but we are a real team. We are close knitted team in the dressing room and you could see this today. We needed a perfect performance and today was one of the best we have given in the tournament.
“I told my boys before the game that it would be tough game and they were well prepared both physically and mentally for the final battle. Kudos to our opponents for giving us a good fight,” he said.
Nasarawa beat Owo 2-0 to clinch the female football gold medal. While Yaba College of Technology settled for bronze after defeating Ede 1-0.
Meanwhile, Laspotech also thrashed Sokoto 3-0 earlier on Saturday to take home the bronze medal in the third place match of the male category.
The games which began on 29th April came to an end with the closing ceremony on Saturday with special guests including Alhaji Tanko Umar Al-Makura, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Royal fathers, top government officials, ex-internationals like John Fashanu, Chief Mary Onyali, among others at the occasion.
Kwara State Polytechnic is a Nigerian tertiary institution that was established in 1973 by the then Military Governor of Kwara State Colonel David Lasisi Bamigboye after the decision of establishing a polytechnic in Kwara State was announced in 1971.
Located in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State, Kwara State Polytechnic started with 110 pioneering students and it offers National Diploma and Higher National Diploma courses in undergraduate levels. She runs several Post Graduate courses also.