The competition was formerly for Omitola Cup, but this year, it became the Principals Cup. The name does not matter. What matters most is the training and a good competition.
The Western State is divided into eight zones for the purpose of the competition, namely: Ibadan, Oyo, Osun, Ijesa/Ife, Ekiti, ljebu, Egba/Egbado and Ondo/Akure. Government College, Ibadan emerged champions for Ibadan. Ansar-Ud-Deen High School, Saki came into the limelight for the first time in the competition by winning the championship of Oyo zone. Ogbomoso is the traditional soccer champion of Osun. Atakumosa, Osu led ljesa zone, while traditional champion Adeola Odutola won Ijebu zone and Abeokuta Grammar School led Egba/Egbado. Last but not the least, another traditionalist St Thomas's Acquinas College, Akure and twice State champions in the past won the Ondo/Akure zone. Christ's School topped Ekiti.
The eight zonal champions assembled at the Liberty Stadium for the quarter finals. The first was played on Wednesday, 6th February, 1974, between Atakumosa Grammar School and Christ's School, Ado-Ekiti. Atakumosa entered the field as the underdogs but when it came to the real battle they outclassed the favourites. Atakumosa had a powerful forward line, but only a simple defence. They had two stars in the forward line that can wreck any team if let loose. Each time the two boys got the ball, they knew exactly what to do with it. On the other hand, Christ's School had a good defence but a rotten forward line particularly when it came to scoring goals. The performance of the Christ's School forward at goal mouth reminded me of what we knew in those days as ‘goalie and defender, no pass no goal'. Each Christ's School forward was able and did actually beat almost every boy in the Atakumosa defence at will, but then, after beating one or two defenders, instead of releasing a thunderous shot, a Christ School dribbler must look for a team-mate to pass the ball to and even when the team-mate is in the centre circle, he attempted to pass the ball back there and of course, Atakumosa defenders quickly cornered the goal-shy forwards and that was all. This in general was the pattern throughout the match. The only exception was when Christ's School got a beautiful header into the net.
If Christ's School got a striker, only one striker, to shoot really hard at the goal after beating their opponent’s defence, nothing could have stopped them from winning the cup this year. I am sure you want to know how Atakumosa achieved their feat in the competition. Atakumosa was adopted by the Physical Education Department of the University of Ife for coaching and research purposes and so, all the expertise of Ife went into Atakumosa. I am sure you are no longer surprised they emerged zonal champions and romped into semi-final.
The next quarter-final was Government College, Ibadan versus Ogbomoso Grammar School. That Government College, Ibadan survived Ogbomoso’s onslaught is one of the soccer miracles in School Boy soccer in this State. I counted seven clear opportunities when there was only the Government College goal-keeper to beat and on each occasion a miracle happened; the ball either hit the goal-keeper's body or the crossbar or went into his outstretched hands. Ogbomoso was aggressive from start to finish. They put all they had into the game but got only one goal.
On the other hand, Government College fielded a team of ten soccer moderates and one star - the young Balogun. Government College had two things to their advantage -- soccer tradition success at the quarter final stage. In the history Soccer in the State, Government College had always passed the quarter-final stage. Secondly, there was this ‘BELIEF’ that if Government College will lose a game, it must be to a traditional soccer 'LORD'. Two Government College boys sitting next to me said no one in the School believed they could lose to Ogbomoso Grammar School.
The attitude showed "the take it easy manner” with which they started the game. They were just lucky. After about half an hour, however, Government College realised the magnitude of the task before them and they started to move, but they did not reach the eighteen many times. In all, I counted eleven shots that went between the uprights and three found the net. As for Ogbomoso's attempts, I lost count after thirty- seven. The Government College goalkeeper was worth a purse full of diamond because he saved the school and the "Aristocratic Goat Case” adherents from terrible embarrassment.
Then came Abeokuta Grammar School and Acquinas College on Friday, 8th February. Abeokuta was clearly the better side. Abeokuta boys were older, bigger and stronger and on top of it all, they possessed soccer talents. On the contrary, Acquinas boys were young, and delicately tall. They were slide tackled right and left and hardly stayed on their feet. They slumped 3:1.
Last but not the least of the quarter-finals was the Adeola Odutola versus Ansar-Ud-Deen Srammar School, Saki. It was difficult to Judge the strength of Adeola Odutola College because their opponents were too weak for mention. For instance, the Adeola goalkeeper did not have any real shot fired at him throughout the ninety minutes of play. Their defence was not tested. It was a one sided affair and Saki faded out 0:5-the heaviest goal tally in the competition so far.

The Semi-Finals

The semi-finals commenced on Saturday, 16th February, 1974 between Government College, 1badan and Atakumosa High School, Osu near Ilesa. Government College won 4:2 after extra time.
The pattern of Government College goals showed that they were a bright side only at the early parts of a game. The players tired out after about twenty minutes. Government College scored two goals within the first ten minutes of the first haft. After that, the team faded out and Atakumosa forced a penalty kick and in the second half, scored the equaliser in the dying minutes. If they had a few minutes more, maybe Atakumosa could have scored the winning goal.
Then the referee decided on extra time, ten minutes each way. While the decision was being taken, the Government College, Ibadan boys had got enough rest. The game started and the Apata boys scored two quick goals in the first halt of ten minutes. Many (except me) expected more goals in the second half. None came. Rather, the Atakumosa boys had started to wear Government College, lbadan out again and the pressure became severe with each succeeding minute and they nearly got a goal when a well-taken short bounced off Government College goal-keeper’s knees.
The entire humble opinion at the stadium supported Atakumosa to the embarrassment of the home crowd. Many Government College supporters decamped when they saw the excessive dribbling and grossly inaccurate passes of their No. 6. If he was replaced much earlier, there would have been no need for the extra time because more goals could have been scored in the early part of the game when the Government College team was strong and effective.
For Atakumosa, there was nothing but praise for a job well done. They were a disciplined side that responded very well to scientific training. Each time they got the ball, they knew exactly what to do with it. They did not make any stupid errors. Their morale was high throughout the 110 minutes of play. They lost because Government College, Ibadan was a better side that had more soccer talent.
The Second Semi-Final
As was said above, Adeola Odutola College (AOC) was not really tested in their encounter with Saki but in their match against Abeokuta Grammar School, AOC proved that they could maintain their smooth system when playing with a strong team. Both teams did very real tackling and both defences really did very good job.
The game could have gone either way without a detached spectator feeling disappointed. One thing was clear though: AOC never showed any signs of exhaustion, whereas Abeokuta Grammar School slowed down towards the end of each half. All told, it was a good match.
IICC Shooting Stars versus Trakia
You might wonder how the Trakia match is relevant to the Principal Cup Competition It in because one of the win of school-boy Soccer is to scout for talent is among the youth to train son to take Nigeria to the plane of an international soccer giant like Brazil or Germany for example.

The greatest difference between the Trakia and the Shooting Stars' style was in speed. Our boys were too slow compared to Trakia. While our boys waited to collect passes, Trakia rushed with speed to collect passes, which were much more accurate than Shooting Stars'. In addition, Trakia did not hold too long to the ball. Each time an attacker succeeded in dribbling one or two defenders he passed on the ball accurately to his team-mate.
Our own boys dribbled until they were out of breath and of course, exhausted forwards cannot take hard and/or accurate shots at goal. Our television stations should stop showing us British soccer on their screens, it appears these films are influencing our style too much and British soccer style is now old fashioned-one dribbling and long passes especially into the penalty box where they are expected to cause ramble which might lead to a goal.
Modern soccer is based on tactical positional play, excellent ball control, accurate passes and above all, high speed.
School coaches should therefore, from now on, concentrate on speed, superb ball control positional play and accurate passes.

The Losers' Final

This was played between Atakumosa and Abeokuta Grammar Schools. In their match against Government College, I told you that Atakumosa was a team with terrific stamina and that if they had more time, they probably could have equalized. So again, it went in their match against Abeokuta Grammar School. At full time the scores were two goals each.
The referee ordered extra time according to the rules-ten minutes on each side. As soon as the extra time was commenced, it appeared as if Atakumosa had just started a ninety minute match, whereas the Abeokuta Grammar School boys were already heavy with exhaustion. Each little push found them on the grass and many lay much longer than necessary as if to take some more rest. In such situation, the Osu boys put very intensive pressure on their weary opponents and they were rewarded by two quick goals
By the style and standard of the team, except for stamina which Atakumosa had much more than Abeokuta Grammar School, both teams were well matched. In any crucial match, stamina is a serious factor to reckon with.

The Finals

If you remember the 1971 Aquinas versus Loyola, you will agree with me that this year’s final was substandard.
Most people came to the stadium to see young Balogun perform wonders, to score goals and carry the day for Government College. They were all disappointed.
Also, most people expected Government College to do all in its power to avoid another jersey muddle, the type they had in their match against Ogbomoso Grammar School. In that match, Government College boys were sent back to their dressing room to change and so their morale fell and it took a long time for them to recover. Their goals came after they got over their embarrassment.
But no, they came to the stadium for a Cup Final only to be set off the pitch again to change. Without the embarrassment, the tension of a Cup Final is high enough to put some players off. From that point, 1 started to have my doubts. If they had not guarded against a jersey muddle, they probably had not done something about excessive dribbling and poor stamina. The last nail in Government College coffin was their No. 8 who had only one style throughout the match- receive a pass and pass back towards a team-mate I have never seen more ridiculously monotonous style in soccer.
On the credit side, the Government College defence including the goal-keeper did very excellent work. One spectator told me he knew the team and the Government College defence was weak. They were not on the day in question. They made few mistakes, but these were more than made good by their deep thrusts and in particular, their No. 7 especially in the last twenty minutes the second half. There was determination in every bit of effort they made. The goal they conceded could have been conceded by any team under very severe pressure the type the smooth Adeola forward piled upon their Opponents’ defence.
Now to the soccer lords - Adetola Odutola College, Ijebu-Ode. I award full marks for the efforts of Adeola Odutola College defence for very tactically policing and rendering Balogun’s snakelike moves ineffective. For most of the match, at least, two people marked him; each time he received a pass, the entire Adeola Odutola defence formed a thick web of defence on his goal ward path. On such occasions Government College wingers rushed towards Balogun to help (or is it to disturb) instead of putting themselves into position to receive a pass from him.
Secondly, the Adeola Odutola defence were very quick at clearing the ball from their danger zone. They dribble only when it was safe to do so. They were very consistent in the strategy and this was intelligent soccer.
Thirdly, the Adeola Odutola goal-keeper consistently ridiculed the Government College attack by throwing the ball accurately to a member of his defence when the Government College forwards backed the ball. It was a morale sapping technique which made the opponent look stupid and the shouts of protest against Government College errors and applause for Adeola Odutola tactics were bad for Government College morale.
Fourthly, it appeared Adeola Odutola came to win. They had several systems which they used one after the other as each failed. They tried long shot at goal and failed. They experimented on walking the ball in. This also failed: They tried long pinpoint centering and heading that also failed. Finally they tried the arrow formation which got the only goal of the match.
The arrow formation has the advantage of beating the offside rule. At the head of the arrow is the man leading the attack. Normally, in a situation like that, the other members of the attack tend to rush forward to receive the pass and in the attempt an anxious player might overrun his welcome and be ruled ‘offside’. But in an arrow formation, two players trail slightly behind the leader of the attack one on each side. When the leader has moved deep enough, an army of defenders rush to his path and he pushes the ball fast and accurately to the freer of his two teammates trailing slightly behind him; the receiver of the pass is expected to take a fast but security shot through any space in the net of defence that normally partially obscure the goal-keeper's view. Such a shot was well taken that beautiful Sunday afternoon and it was G-O-A-L
There was one big stain in the Adeola Odutola attack on that day poor heading at goal. Three corner licks were beautifully taken and on each occasion the Government College defence as careless enough to allow their opponent to connect with a header, but alas, all the headers went wide. It was poor for a State champion.
Finally, I wish to say very hearty congratulations to Adeola Odutola for deservedly winning the State championships this year. It has been an uphill task Congratulations to the coach and all who lent and in building up the team. More grease to your elbows.
To build good team, games master should not wait till the next school year before they start their preparations. For the rest of the yearn efforts should be directed towards forming teams from Classes One to Four, Inter-arm and inter clan matches could be arranged to scout for talents. The same goes for Cricket, Hockey, Lawn and Table Tennis, Net-ball, Volley Ball and Athletic Training must be regular and systematic.


1. Soccer Champions--
Adeola Odutola College. Ijebu-Ode
Runners Up-Government College, Ibadan
Third Place Atakumona High School, Osu, Ilesa.
2. Netball Champions--
Senior Girls- Queen's School, Ibadan
Junior Girls - African Church Comprehensive School, Ikere-Ekiti.
3. Basketball Champions—
Girl’s Trophy-Manuwa Memorial Grammar School, Iju.Odo
Boys Trophy-Comprehensive High School, Aiyetoro.
4. Volleyball Champions--
Girls - Hope Grammar School, Ilesa
Boys - Baptist High School, Iwo.
It is probably desirable to end this game festival by looking into this year' junior academicals competitions.
From what I saw this year, we have only moderate talents in the teams. I therefore offer the following suggestions to enable us give a good account of ourselves:
(i) The coaches must concentrate on speed. Our boys are too slow. They should move fast to collect passes
(ii) Ball-control must be perfected.
(iii) Tactical positional play must be taught to our team
(iv) Robust stamina can win a match in the dying minutes. So the coach must go all out to build real stamina into our team.
We seem to have boys who have mastered the art of dribbling, accurate passes and heading for goal especially from corner kicks.
One last thing the coaches must bear in mind is that the boys who will make up our team mu be brought together early enough to enable them get to know one another socially as well as soccer techniques. Some people do not like to Scolded when they make mistakes on the soccer pitch: others like to be commended when they perform a feat; there are yet others who are averse to any kind of praise or blame – and talking gets on their nerves. Players must have a reasonable understanding of one another to perform well.
I wish the Western State the very best of luck this year.


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