[Juba Stadium, Juba, TCT] South Sudan League champions, Malakia FC withstood a sustained attack from a ten-man Atlabara FC to emerge victorious in the MTN8 Cup to take home the winner’s trophy and 250,000 SSP check.
It was a battle of the giants, as Atlabara FC was the first national team to play in a continental quarter final, in the 2014 CECAFA-Kagame Cup, while Malakia represented the country in the Confederation of African Football.
Atlabara twice denied Malakia FC an easy win in Sunday night’s finals. Atlabara, despite being a man down after Leon Khamis was sent off for a foul, came from behind to equalize just before stoppage time. It then denied Malakia an outright win in the spot kicks leading to a nail biting finish.
Malakia captain Katimba Peter opened the scoring in the 29th minute, beating the goal keeper with a powerful shot that easily entered the net. A tense four minutes ensued, but goalkeeper Kennedy Santinino denied Atlabara a clear path to the net. But only minutes to stoppage time, Kennedy failed to stop a powerful shot a ten-man Atlabara. The equalizer denied Malakia an equal path to victory, with the game ended into the spot kicks. Both sides tied for 4-4 in the spot kicks, prompting a second shootout.
Despite the loss, Atlabara took home SSP175,000, while Yei Central, who finished in third place, after beating Eastern Equatoria’s Volcano FC in the semi-finals, took home SSP 75,000, from the sponsors, MTN. Recalling that MTN sponsored the 2010 World Cup, MTN CEO Philip Besiimire said the firm is a big sponsor of sports in Africa. “We have continued that legacy of sports sponsorship in all the countries that MTN operates in,” he said. The MTN8 idea was borrowed from South Africa. “As we speak now, the MTN8 is also going on in South Africa right now,” said Besiimire.
South Sudan Sports Association Chairperson Chabur Goc said MTN should also sponsor the national team. “We’ll work together for promotion of football in South Sudan,” said Goc. And, added Central Equatoria state minister for Sports Steven Ladu, MTN should also expand its sports activities to women’s football so as to build peace and co-existence. “All the people who have come -- this is a sign of peace -- to be together, standing in one stadium.”
For more information on this story, Contact: Ms. Harriet Kuyang Mulukwat (+211)922 904 504)
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