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Rivers United win pre-season tournament

The final of the Governor Wike Pre-season Championships was a pulsating affair that pitched host team Rivers United against co-finalist Bayelsa United in a contest that needed penalty shootouts to determine a winner.

The final of the Governor Wike Pre-season Championships was a pulsating affair that pitched host team Rivers United against co-finalist Bayelsa United in a contest that needed penalty shootouts to determine a winner.

Theophilus Afelokhai, Rivers goalkeeper, was the hero for the hosts after scoring the winning penalty at the Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt as they triumphed in the second edition of the competition.

The game remained undecided when Bayelsa United’s Christian Mizo’s second-half goal was cancelled out by Chika Godwin and after regulation time ended one goal apiece.

In preparation for the penalties that appeared certain to determine a winner, both teams substituted their goalkeepers towards the end of the tie. Rivers United’s Theophilus Afelokhai was brought on for Darlington Ovunda while Raphael John replaced Isiaka Ogunbiyi in goal for Bayelsa United.

After a tensed period where all four penalty takers from both sides scored, it was left to the two keepers to determine if one side will take the glory or more penalty kicks will be required to settle the fixture.

John stepped up for Bayelsa United and ballooned his kick over the bar allowing Afelokhai to secure the win for the hosts when he coolly netted his spot-kick.

An ex-Enyimba goalkeeper, Afelokhai scored two goals in the competition. For his efforts, he earned the Goalkeeper Of The Tournament award.

The Best Team Of The Tournament award went to Ottasolo FC while MFM FC forward Clement Ogu, the only player to score three goals in the competition got himself the Highest Goal Scorer award.

The award for the Most Valuable Player of the second edition of the pre-season went to Bayelsa United’s Okardi Inukurogha.

Present at the final were the Rivers State’s Sports Commissioner, Boma Iyaye, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Sports, Honour Sirawoo, and the River State PDP Chairman, Desmond Akawor, who represented the state Governor, Nyemson Wike.

Other dignitaries who graced the event were the former Commissioner for Health, Sampson Paker, and Special Adviser to the governor on Real Madrid Academy, Chris Green among others.

The winning team took home a cash prize of N500,000 while Bayelsa United were rewarded with N300,000 for reaching the final.

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