The organizers of the annual Ozalla Forum Football Tournament in Ozalla Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State, Ozalla Forum Football Committee (OFFC) has released the fixtures of the tournament for the 2021/2022 edition.
According to a Press Release from the Head of Technical Dept of the OFFC, Mr Linus Brazil Aninweke, and made available to our reporter in Lagos, reveals that the tournament will kick off on the 24th of December, 2021 with an opening match between Obeagwu and Ishi Ozalla Autonomous Communities, Aninweke, an ex Pro player who plied his trade with the now-defunct Nitel Vasco Dagama FC, NIPOST FC, both of Enugu, Nigerian Railways FC of Lagos as well as Delta Stars Fc of Warri, noted that the Ozalla Football Tournament which runs on a league basis among the 5 Autonomous Communities in Ozalla, will run till the 31st of December, 2021 with matches played daily, According to Mr. Aninweke who is also a veteran of Ozalla football, having played, coached and now part of the administrators of the tournament, “this tournament is the rallying point and center of attraction for our people who come back to spend the Christmas and New Year holidays in the village, so we intend to keep them entertained.
He emphasized the readiness of OFFC to deliver a tournament that will stand out and above all previous editions. “We are coming up with innovations that will bring out the best of all the communities, he added. The release added that the prize money for the tournament has been enhanced to attract quality participation. To that end, the winners of the competition will receive the sum of N300,000 while the runners-up will collect the sum of N200,000 and the 3rd placed community will get N100,000. The 4th and 5th teams will receive a consolation price of N50,000 each. These prizes are different from the financial subventions to the teams to help them prepare for the tournament.
Other reward packages attached to the tournament include a cash prize of N20,000 for the Tournament’s Best Player. The Highest Goal Scorer will receive the sum of N10,000 while the Fair Play Team award will also attract the sum of N10,000. The Best goalkeeper of the tournament will attract N10,000 while the best player in each of the 10 matches (King of the match) will get N5000 each after every game.
Other members of the committee which is headed by ex-footballer, Paul Nwachukwu includes notable ex-Rangers of Enugu player, Festus Agu (Rashidi) Brazil Aninweke, Deacon PCK Kamanu, Vincent Nwani (Commander West). Others are Alex Ogbodo, Comrade Ambrose Nweke, Chief Patrick Igwe, Barr KC Nwafor, Ichie Ikenna Okafor, Pst Clinton Nwomeh, Prince Obi Nweke, and Ogonna Nweke.
In a similar development, Mr. Paul Nwachukwu has also said that various other packages are being worked on that will add attraction, fun and impact to the annual tournament which is the oldest football competition in Ozalla. The South African-based ex-prayer told our reporter that his committee is mobilizing the ‘who is who’ in Ozalla in their bids to make them be part of the 2021/22 activities which he noted will go beyond football. “Aside from football, we will be launching the maiden edition of our magazine, ‘Ozalla Greats Magazine’ which says a lot about our town and her People, with major emphasis on our football ambassadors both retired and still active”.
He added that the committee has also repackaged the climax of the tournament funfair with the annual ‘Ozalla Connect’ which is an event that brings the indigenes of the town and their friends together. ‘Ozalla Connect’ which will hold on the 2nd of January, 2022 will be recognizing and awarding Certificates to notable individuals that have contributed immensely to the development of Ozalla football over the years. , According to the Chairman, this event will bring the best of who is who in Ozalla, showcase its culture and tradition while networking. The event will be preceded by an All-Stars novelty match between the Ozalla Development Union President (Barr CCN Nwagbara) team and Team Ikeoha, a lover of the beautiful game, a philanthropist, and leading business tycoon in Ozalla.
Mr Nwachuwu extended the appreciation of his commitment to the many companies and individuals who are sponsoring this year’s tournament. Such names include Prince Obi Nweke Of Medicare Group as Official Sponsor, Mazi Obi Okwuibe, CEO Of Royal Regina Ltd, Prince Emeka Denis Okereke, Ozalla Y18 League as Technical Sponsors. Others are Hardbreak Hotels and Suites, Dr Chiedozie Onovo, Chief Patrick Mmiridiche Igwe, Prince Andy Nweke as well as Charles Nwobodo.
He emphasized the readiness of his Committee to deliver on the mandate of organizing the best tournament ever in the town’s history. “This year, we are hoping to sponsor the tournament’s overall best players on all-expense-paid trials with some Nigerian club sides, scouts and coaches of local Nigerian teams will also be invited to watch the matches live for the purpose of picking good players into their teams”. Some matches will be broadcast live over the internet for our people who are unable to come home this year to be part of this great event.
To highlight the great the committee has gone in ensuring an outstanding tournament, Mr Nwachukwu noted that they have employed the services of a renowned Lagos-based Sports Development and Public Relations Consultant, Mr Olisemeka Obi to use his expertise to package and project the tournament. It is expected that great sons and daughters of Ozalla will grace this year’s edition of the competition as well as the ‘Ozalla Connect’ carnival.
Some of the expected personalities include former Nigeria Minister, Frank Nweke (II), Chief Okey Aninweke of the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) Chidi Nkwonta of FRSC, and Navy Commodore JOJ Nweke. Others are Chief Barr Afam Anih, Prince Emeka Denis Okereke, Barr CNN Nwagbara ( PG Ozalla) Engr George Chukwuani, Ichie Ikenna Okafor, Ichie Ikem Okoye, Igwe Of all the Autonomous Communities in Ozalla and PG’s, Ozalla Football Tournament has produced some notable players including ex-Super Eagles player, Christian Obodo, Festus Agu, Linus Aninweke, Late Osita Aninweke as well as Paul Nwachukwu. Others are Osita Eneh (Barry White), Onyedikachi Ugwu, Stephen Chukwudeh, Ikechukwu Nwani and Deacon PCk Kamanu among others.
The Full Tournament Fixtures:
1. 24th Dec. Obeagwu vs Ishi 4pm
2. 25th Dec. Okorouba vs Etiti 4pm
3. 26th Dec. Umuanne vs Obeagwu 4pm
4. 27th Dec. Ishi vs Okorouba 4pm
5. 28th Dec. Etiti vs Umuanne 2pm
6. 28th Dec. Obeagwu vs Okorouba 4pm
7. 29th Dec. Ishi vs Etiti 4pm
8. 30th Dec. Okorouba vs Umuanne 4pm
9. 31st Dec. Etiti vs Obeagwu 2pm
10. 31st Dec. Umuanne vs Ishi 4pm
11. 2nd Jan. Novelty match. Team Ikeoha vs Team Nwagbara 2