THE Supremes Football Club of Gboko and GidanBege Football Club of Makurdi, have qualified to represent the North-Central zone of Nigeria, for the Gulder Ultimate Five-A-Side Football competition.
The qualifying zonal matches were played at the Abu King Shulluwa Playing Ground, Makurdi, Benue State.
Even though the two teams qualified to represent the North Central zone, Supremes FC emerged the best team after they defeated GidanBege via penalty shoot-out, after the match ended in a 1 -1 draw at regulation time.
Supremes FC and GidanBege will join other qualifying teams from the South-East, South-South, Mid-West, Western and Lagos zones for the Gulder Ultimate Five-A-Side Football competition proper, which kicks off from June 14- 17inLagos.
To emerge as the winning team, Supremes FC defeated Super Stars FC by 2-0, while it also scored 3-0 against Tiger FC. At the quarter final stage, the team defeated Rising Stars FC by3-2, while it beat Destiny Stars by 2-1.
GidanBege FC defeated Olympia FC by 3-0 on the first day, beat Raymond King FC by3-2 on the second day and defeated Commando FC at the quarter finals by a lone goal.
GidanBege FC also defeated City Lions by a lone goal in the semi-finals.
The Chairman of the GidanBege FC, David Audu, expressed happiness that his team qualified to represent the North-Central. He said that his team will intensify their preparation for optimal performance in Lagos. He noted: "What we are going back to do now is to intensify our preparation by concentrating on tactics and pace. We are going to put the team through the principle of football ethics, tactical discipline, team spirit and responsibility," he said.
Ex-Nigerian International, Moses Kpakor, who witnessed some of the matches, commended the management of Nigerian Breweries Pic and the Gulder brand for supporting the game of football through the Gulder Ultimate Football Five-A-Side initiative.
He noted: "This is what we have been advocating for, that corporate bodies should come out and support government in the development of the game of soccer. By so doing, it will bring about the needed turn around of our national teams. In this competition, there is no way raw talents will not emerge, such football talents that can be developed and subsequently placed in the national team. This is exactly what the country needs now, if we must reclaim back our football lost glory of the good old days. With the talents I have seen so far on display, I am very satisfied with their level of skills, stamina, determination and commitment to the game."
Kpakor further called on other corporate bodies to emulate the Gulder initiative in establishing developmental football programmes across the country, to support sports.
After Makurdi, the battle will shift to Rangers International Football Club training pitch, Enugu. The qualifying teams from the South-East zone will slug it out with one another from Friday, May 4 and Sunday May 6, 2012.
The Liberation Stadium Practice Pitch, Port Harcourt, will also host the teams from the South-South zone on the weekend of Friday, May 11, to Sunday, May 13,2012.