The Federal Fire Service has recovered from its two previous lackluster performances at the ongoing 2nd edition of Governor Abdullahi A. Sule Inter-Security Agencies Unity Cup Football Tournament. They shocked pre-tournament favorites, the Nigerian Army, with a 1-0 victory in a game watched by both agencies' heads and personnel at the Lafia City Stadium.
Emmanuel Osidembi's sixth-minute goal in the first half, after some goal-area scrambles, was all the pre-judged underdogs required to earn maximum points against the Army side. The Army had previously thrashed the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, 4-0, in their first match, opening up qualification possibilities for all teams in Group 'B.'
In the other Group 'B' game between the Department of State Service, DSS, and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, it was the former agency that got rejuvenated and drew first blood through Habeeb Auta shortly after kick-off.
The lead lingered throughout the first half as the anticipation for a first win at the tournament loomed. However, it was game on in the 67th minute as NDLEA restored parity through a towering header from the unstoppable Godwin Onoja, who perfectly directed a corner kick to the right spot.
Ten minutes before regulation time, the anticipation of the DSS for a first win was shattered as Abu Henry's long-range strike caught the Secret Service's goalkeeper, Dennis Istifanus, napping. The scoreline remained unaltered as the comeback was enough to earn the anti-drug agency the win, ultimately qualifying them for the Quarter-finals stage after three matches with six points.
Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, are now 2nd in the Group 'B' table, followed by the Nigerian Fire Service, FFS, and the Nigerian Army, who have three points. Only the DSS is yet to earn any points since the beginning of the competition.
Organizers of the tournament had to rearrange Friday's Group 'A' fixtures due to unforeseen circumstances. In the rearrangements, the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, versus the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, Group 'A' game earlier slated for 2 pm will now be held at 10 am on Friday, 12th January 2024, while the Nigerian Police Force tie is rescheduled.
Already, FRSC and NAYES have both qualified for the last eight of the competition, with six points apiece, whereas hopes are still rife for the Nigerian Police Force (with 3 points from two games) and the Nigerian Correctional Service (with 3 points from three matches) to join the other two teams in the knockout stages.
The Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, who are yet to record any wins in three games, have lean hopes of making it to the crucial stage of the tournament. Four teams will qualify from each Group, comprising five teams, into the Quarter-finals. The competition is the brainchild of the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abdullahi Sule on Sports Development, Comr. Hamza Ibrahim Moyi.