BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Two former winners of the old Lagos Principals Cup, St, Finbarr’s College Akoka and Anwar-ul-Islam College Agege will attempt to rekindle old flames as both clash in the GTBank Masters Cup final on Thursday.
Both schools belong to the old strongholds of the Lagos Principals Cup which began in 1948. For the records, Sports Village Square recalls that both schools dominated the Lagos Principals Cup in the ancient era, but they never met in the finals.
St Finbarr’s won the old competition a record 10 times while Anwar-ul-Islam College won three times, but featured in final matches five times under its former name, Ahmadiyya College, Agege.
While St Finbarr’s College hold a record of most victories in the Principals Cup, Anwar-ul Islam also can lay claims in the record books. Sports Village Square notes that when the school won the then Zard Cup in 1957, it became the first victorious school outside the original seven that pioneered secondary schools football competition in Lagos in 1948.
Sports Village Square also recalls that both schools produced many great names in Nigerian football.
St Finbarr’s College had Stephen Keshi, Paul Okoku, Henry Nwosu among others while as Ahmadiyya College, Anwar-ul-Islam produced, perhaps the greatest school football sensation of the 1960s, Tunde Disu and also Tajudeen Olarenwaju who later became a general in the Nigerian Army.
But Thursday’s setting is under a different platform produced by GTBank. According to information offered Sports Village Square, the Masters Cup, which the bank previously called Heritage Cup, began in 2012 as a stand-alone league especially for the old strongholds of the Lagos Principals Cup.
In the women’s category of the competition, Ansar-ud-Deen Girls High School, Itire will face Queens College, Yaba. Both schools have dominated the competition in the past. Sports Village Square recalls that this year’s final match is a repeat of the keenly contested 2014 final match.
Score line at after regulation time was goalless before Queens College prevailed 4-3 on penalties. Queens College won the inaugural edition in 2012 while Ansar-ud-Deen Girls High School, Itire won that of 2013 defeating Methodist Girls High School, Yaba, which Queens had also defeated in the previous final match.
Sports Village Square also notes that both finalists this year had been alternating victories in the Masters Cup. Queens College won in 2012, 2014 and 2016 while Ansar-ud-Deen Girls High School, Itire won in 2013 and 2015. Will 2017 be a victory for Ansar-ud-Deen Girls High School, Itire? The answer will emerge when both clash at 2pm at the water front Onikan Stadium on Thursday.