Fanfare and Funfair, As ACORA Youths Sports & Cultural Festival Kicks Off in Awka

May 1, 2022 - 22:34
May 1, 2022 - 22:38
Fanfare and Funfair, As ACORA Youths Sports & Cultural Festival Kicks Off in Awka

By Izunna Okafor, Awka

It was a fun-filled and enthralling evening yesterday at the field of St. John's Anglican Church, Okpuno, in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State, as the maiden edition of the ACORA Youths Sports and Cultural Festival kicked off in earnest.

Organized by the Youth Board of the Anglican Church of Redemption, Awka, the event which is the first of its kind, kicked off with a thrilling and captivating football match between the Faith and Love families, and drew the participation of many dignitaries who came to witness the kick-off match and watch the vibrant ACORA youths display their amazing football skills and dexterity.

Among some of the guests who graced the occasion was the Vicar, Anglican Church of Redemption Parish, Ven. Dr. Obiorah Alokwu; the new Commissioner for Power and Water Resources in Anambra State, Mr. Julius Chukwuemeka; the Director, ACORA Youths Board, Pharmacist Uzo Umeononihu; members of the ACORA Parochial Church Committee (PCC); as well as youths, women, children and other spectators who came from within the vicinity and beyond to feed their eyes.

The event started with family parade, during which members of all the four family of ACORA youths (Faith, Love, Peace and Joy) dance-marched round the field, with uncommon ecstacy, under the euphonious and mellifluous tune oozing out from the corner of the ACORA Brigade.

The football match kicked off proper at about 4:20pm between the Faith (in blue) and Love (in yellow), with the Faith group taking the lead in goal scoring, after the skillful Nwafor Hillary Obunneme of Jersey number 4 wawed up the net of the Love Family's goal post with a very tantalizing short kick, just few minutes after the kick-off.

This well-celebrated goal did not only wow the audience, but also sent an activatory signal to the chins and spines of their opponents and sporty-looking Love group players who never expected such an early welcome package from their counterparts, most of whom are married, look un-sporty and somewhat pot-bellied (according the commentators, Elder John Ifejika and Mr. Chibueze Ughala.)

The first half of the match ended 45 minutes after, with the Faith Family still retaining their victory and aiming for more goals.

The mood and the entire arena, however, changed when the relentless Chiedozie Nwogwugwu of the Love group, unexpectedly penetrated the impassable and ever-tight defence of the Faith group and flushed in a very subtle and hilarious goal, just few minutes to the end of the match, thereby resurrecting the panting hope of the Love Family and their supporters.

Arbitrated by Nnanna Chibuike Charles, the match eventually ended at about 6:50pm with a 1—1 draw between the two teams and with uncommon smiles on the faces of everyone. The indomitable Chukwuebuka of the Faith group was also recognized as the Man of the Match, owing to his excellent performance and admirable sporting talent displayed during the match, which wowed all and sundry.

Speaking at the event, the Vicar, Anglican Church of Redemption, Awka, Ven. Obiorah Alokwu, who registered his amazement over the participation and performance of the youths in the event, commended the organizers of the Festival, as well as the church members who trooped out en masse to witness the occasion; even as he reassured the ACORA Youth Board of the church's continuous support and encouragements.

Reacting, the state's Commissioner for Power and Water Resources, Mr. Julius Chukwuemeka described the event as interesting and commendable, and hailed the organizers for the job well done. He also opined that the Faith group, in particularly, performed extraordinarily well and beyond people's expectation, as many thought the Love group would feed them with goals, looking at their players' appearances; but it turned out to be the reverse.

While highlighting the various ways the event can benefit the youths and impact positively in their lives and society at large; the Commissioner who was also the Special Guest Honour at the event, testified that the event was so rich and mature as if it was never the first edition; called for its sustenance, and advised the youths to also sustain their participation in the event.

Earlier speaking, the Director, ACORA Youth Board, Pharmacist Uzo Umeononihu appreciated the various groups, the Vicar, the PCC and everyone who participated at or contributed in one way or the other towards the success of the event, including Azubuike Umeh and others, who played vital roles in the planning of the event.

She also encouraged the various groups to step up their preparations, as the yesterday's event was just an introduction into the package the Festival has in stock for them 

The month-long 2022 ACORA Youths Sports and Cultural Festival is an initiative of the ACORA Youth Board, aimed at engaging and bringing out the best in the youths as well as create participatory roles for all members of the various youths' families. 

The next football match in the Festival will hold on May 6 at St. Mary's, Nodu Okpuno, where members of the Joy Family and youths of St. Mary, Nodu will hitch it out in another brotherly contest.

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Izunna Okafor Izunna Okafor is an award-winning Nigerian novelist, poet, journalist, essayist, editor, translator, publicist, Igbo language activist and administrator who hails from Ebenator in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria. He writes perfectly in English and Igbo languages, and has published several books in both languages. He has received over 25 awards, and has over 2000 articles published online, both nationally and internationally, cutting across creative writing and journalism. See his full profile at: