Who Are the Masters?

Who Are the Masters?

BY KUNLE SOLAJA

The GTBank Masters Cup final this Thursday will certainly evoke nostalgic feelings of the 1960s and 1970s when schools football was almost drawing the same passion with competitions among top club sides in Lagos.

Two of the teams that made secondary schools football tick in the old federal capitals will clash on the sacred turf of Onikan Stadium where great footballers of the past have graced. Such included the legendary Pele who came in 1969 with the only club side he ever played for in Brazil, Santos FC.

Sports Village Square recalls that this time around,  it is the 10-time winners of the old Lagos Principals’ Cup, St Finbarr’s College Akoka facing another strong hold of secondary schools football, Anwar-ul-Islam College which under its previous name, Ahmadiyya College, featured in eight final matches of the old Principals Cup and won thrice in 1957, 1960 and 1965 in era when the school had the likes of Tunde Disu, Muyiwa Oshode and Tajudeen Olarenwaju who later became a general in the Nigerian Army.

Incidentally as great as both schools were, this Thursday is the first time they are meeting in a final match, courtesy of the platform offered by GTBank Masters Cup.

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, Samson Siasia 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.

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.

 

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