Despite losing the title to England’s Arsenal, head coach of Kebbi Beach Soccer Club, Abdullahi Isa has described his side’s first ever international outing at the Copa Lagos 2017 as an ‘unforgettable’ experience.
The Kebbi Fishers defeated Gidi Sharks 9-4 and Pepsi Football Academy 8-3 to garner six points but lost the trophy to the European side on head-to-head rule no thanks to their opening day 11-9 loss. And the former Nigeria international insists his side’s impressive show and second place finish was a rewarding debut, which he vowed to build on.
He thanked his players for their spirited display to record back-to-back wins after the loss to Arsenal as well as sponsors, people and government Kebbi State.
“It was a good outing for us. Though we lost our first game but we responded well by winning our remaining two matches,” Isa said.
“It was not easy for the boys, they really fought hard and I am proud of their performance. They played clearly to instructions in our last two games and there was no surprise we won .
“We only had three weeks in camp for a tasking competition of this magnitude and I’m pleased with the attitude and potentials we have in the team. We have a good team for the future and I’m sure with better preparation and exposure like this, we can beat any team.
“I must say thank you to the people of Kebbi and Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu for his incredible support. Same goes to all individuals and firms that supported our campaign at Copa Lagos,” he concluded.
On Sunday, a brace from Frank Dozie and four-star Emmanuel Tanko helped the Kebbi Fishers crush their Nigerian foe to finish second in the four-team club challenge behind eventual champions Arsenal at the Eko Atlantic.
Kebbi’s top scorer Dozie fired the northern side in front before Tanko inspired a 3-2 narrow lead in the first period, while the cagey second period saw both teams managing only a goal apiece for 4-3.
In the final third, Tanko and Dozie ruthlessly combined well to ensure the debutants gained four massive goals to outnumber the English side, which defeated Gidi Sharks 9-5 on the same day.
Reacting on their feat, team’s chairman, Mahmud Hadejia said, “I am not disappointed at all and would appreciate the players and officials take the outcome of the event in good faith. It was our first ever outing in any competition outside Kebbi State and we really proved our mettle.
“I wish to appreciate the organisers for the privilege they gave us to feature in the competition will be highly cherished. We hope to have won the tournament with the good performance of our players.”