Gov. Umaru Al-Makura of Nasarawa State on Wednesday narrowly missed a penalty kick against a women team in a novelty football match to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the creation of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 15 minute per half encounter was played at the football pitch of the College of Agriculture, in Lafia.
The match was played between senior male politicians and cabinet members led by Gov. Al-Makura and their female counterparts led by the governor’s wife, Salamatu Al-Makura.
NAN also reports that the encounter was full of excitement from the beginning till the end with both sides playing out their hearts, resulting in a 2-2 draw in front of a large crowd.
In the first half, despite the difference in gender, the female side led by Salamatu stood gallantly and firmly against the attack by the opposition led by the governor.
However, they cave in to the male team’s pressure in the 12th minute when the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Abdullahi Balarabe, received a pass from the Deputy Governor, Silas Agara, to score and put the male side ahead by a lone goal at the end of the first half.
After the break, Skipper Salamatu led her teammates to push forward for an equalizer through Faustina Alegbe from a close range in the 21st minute.
In the 23rd minute, the governor’s team fought back and was rewarded with a penalty due to a foul on Suleiman Azores in the penalty box.
However, Al-Makura, who came forward to take the spot kick, failed to beat the female keeper, Eunice Kigbu, who stood firmly against the goal attempt.
The governor, however, made up for the penalty miss two minutes later by scoring from close range after receiving a pass from Agara.
NAN reports that despite trailing behind, the female team was rewarded with a late equalizer in the 29th minute through the governor’s wife, thereby ending the match 2-2.
Speaking after the match, Al-Makura expressed gratitude to God, and residents of the state for allowing the state to blossom and celebrate its 20th anniversary.
He appealed to everyone to embrace sporting activities for their health benefit and use it as a tool to reduce unemployment and youth restiveness in the state.
Nasarawa State was among the five states created by the regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha in 1996. (NAN)