THE Niger State Hockey Team and the El-Rufa’i Queens of Kaduna State at the weekend emerged winners of the male and female Nigeria Hockey Super League at the hockey AstroTurf pitch of the Murtala Square Kaduna.
Niger State won six matches and lost one to win the male category of the week-long tournament played on round robin basis, while the Kaduna women team won three matches and drew one to win the female category with 10 points. Both teams won a giant trophy and secured ticket to represent Nigeria at the African club championship.
El-Kanemi Flickers of Borno State who defeated defending champions Union Bank 1- 0 in the final game placed second in the male category with 15 points while Union Bank was third having garnered 13 points following four wins and a draw. State placed second in the female category with seven points after winning two matches and playing draw in the other match. Defending champions Heartland Flickers of Owerri placed third in the female category.
Niger State’s Muazu Shawilu emerged the male’s most valuable player, while Esther Bello of Kaduna state emerged the female most valuable player. Yohanna Farouk of Niger state won the men highest goal scorer with eight goals, while Chinonyere Mark of Heartland was named the female highest goalscorer. Solomon Felix of Kaduna state was named the male youngest player, just as Aben Nguvan of Benue state won the youngest female player award.
Meanwhile, the head coach of Kaduna state, Abdullahi Baba Ndana has expressed happiness over the female team’s victory at the competition.
Speaking after his girls received the giant trophy and gold medals they won at the country’s top competition, Baba Ndana who is also the national team coach urged the Kaduna State government to support the team, saying that they have young and talented players that can do the state and country proud anywhere.
“I’m happy that the girls won the competition. The boys may have won too if not for the first match that we lost to El-Kanemi Flickers of Borno state and the second match that we threw away against Police Machines after leading until 10 minutes to go. All in all the team’s did well and I’m proud of them because they put up good performances.
“We had teething challenges in terms of funding, as government has yet to approve our requests, I’m finding it difficult to send the girls, most of whom are tertiary students, back to their schools. I think there was communication gap with government because I know Governor El-Rufa’i to be a spouts loving governor, we hope by this week there would be response from government.