Trustful Trustees overcame an initial stage-freight and a 0-2 deficit to wrestle the Mobitel knockout trophy from the grips of Pepsi League champions Exchequers of Bank of Ghana via the penalty shoot-out route.
It took the magic of teenage sensation, David ‘Nene’ Ghablah to restore parity for Trustees within the last 17 minutes of the game to hand the men from the Trust the lifeline to victory.
The game was robust with Trustees being the guilty party. It was not surprising that 4 of their players, Oblitey, Adenu, Nartey and Sam, received yellow cards and temporal suspensions during the 70-minute duration of the game. Exchequers however kept their cool and kept probing for goal earning their first penalty of the game in the 13th minute. Samuel Kwaw rocked the backboard with a fierce shot for the first goal of the match in the 14th minute. The game kept moving back and forth in midfield with both teams displaying some wonderful play to end the first half.
The second half was keenly contested in midfield with Exchequers slightly dominating proceedings. In the 47th minute, dare-devil Alfred ‘MC’ Armah turned Trustees goalie Marox Abaado inside out to send the ball into the roof of the net for the second goal for Exchequers.
When it all looked like an Exchequers celebration, Nene, who had single-handedly harassed the Exchequers defense, turned on his 17 minutes magic. He picked the ball from midfield and in the typical fashion had a go at the Exchequers defense. He outwited the entire defense line with some swift wrist-work and cheekily lifted the ball over sprawling goalie Tetteh Jonas in goal for Exchequers to pull one back for Trustees in the 53rd minute. Exchequers were stunned and Trustees had their spirits lifted and it showed. Marox writhed in pain and was later substituted by reserve goalie Godwin Oblitey in the 58th minute.
Nene was even more determined to make a difference and when he took his position for one of the numerous penalty corners they earned, he knew exactly what he was about. He stopped the feeble push from the corner and instead of the usual pass, he pushed a low shot to the wrong side of goalie Tetteh and beyond the reach of the defense-men of Exchequers for the equalizer a minute from the end of the game. The celebration that greeted the goal was deafening but the events that followed were sensational. With a penalty shootout beckoning, Marox opted to substitute the goalie who had come in for him earlier due to his injury. Exchequers responded with a similar substitution when the handlers brought in Dzokoto for Tetteh. The change paid off for Trustees as Marox saved 2 of the Exchequers penalties while Dzokoto could mange only one to hand Trustees a 6-5 victory to retain the Mobitel knockout cup for the year 2002. This result set the stage for another showdown b! etween the two rivals in the Champion of champions next Saturday, January 18, 2003
Prisons Thrash Comets
Predictably, Reformers of Prisons clinched the Mobitel knockout championship with a 5-0 spanking of Comets at the National Hockey Pitch. By this win, Reformers repeat the clean sweep of all trophies in the ladies’ category of the Greater Accra Hockey Association as they did in 2001.
Led by player-of-the-year Abena Amponsah, Reformers dominated the game right from push-off. They were however kept in check by the much-improved Comets side that displayed some good ball control and player marking in defense and midfield. Comets played so tight in defense that Reformers had to wait till 9 minutes from the end of the first half to score from a Georgina Sam strike.
Five minutes into the second half, Pamela Condobrey crashed the ball into the backboard from a penalty corner to take Reformers 2 goals ahead. Comets changed their game plan and kept the Reformers attack at bay. In the last 6 minutes of the game however, the Comets defense line crumbled and allowed in 3 goals from Felicia Mifetu (64th), Mary Larnor (68th) and Georgina Sam (70th) to finish 0-5 losers.
Tema Stars Rule Juvenile Hockey
Tema Juvenile Stars celebrated a rare victory in the juvenile category of the Mobitel knockout champion when they beat Pepsi Babies 3-1 in front of their patrons who had come to see them play for the first time. The patrons and parents were so delighted to see their young lads lift a trophy right before their very eyes amidst wild celebration. The Chairman of the Greater Accra was full of praise for the team and paid tribute to the boys for their persistence to succeed in the game of hockey.
The sponsors of the competition for 5 years Millicom Ghana Limited, operators of the Mobitel cellular network, paid tribute to the clubs and the Greater Accra Hockey Association for continuing to develop Ghana hockey and pledged to continue supporting hockey in the coming years.