The maiden edition of the Governor Masari Pre-season Tournament has ended colourfully on Sunday at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium after over eight days of impressive soccer artistry among the participating teams with Katsina United winning the inaugural edition after a stoppage- time winner left Niger Tornadoes broken hearted at the blast of the referee final whistle.
Substitute Umar Ladua scored the matchwinner off a sumptous pass from Nafiu Ibrahim to give the Changi Boys the all-important lead in Katsina in the 92nd minute.
The final game was decided between Katsina United I and Niger Tornadoes with both sides given little away in the grand finale with the hope of winning the coveted trophy.
It was the Ikon Allah Boys that got the first big chance of the game when Debo Fashanu was presented with a golden opportunity but Changi Boys goalkeeper Yusuf Mohammed made a smart save to deny the visitors from drawing first blood in the fifth minute and Katsina United had Yusuf to thank for another save in the 18th minute.
The Katsina United goalie was at his best again in the 28th minute to deny Oche Josiah and Fashanu with a double save to keep the scores at goalless.
Both teams tried another last ditch attempt to score the curtain-raiser in the 37th minute but their albatross has been their lack of cutting edge in the final third to the chagrin of Bishir Sadauki and Abubakar Bala of Katsina United and Tornadoes in that order. The first half ended goalless despite the fourth official indicating extra minutes would be played at the end of the 45 minutes.
Katsina United had reasons to worry about when one of their influential players, Abdulrashid Ahmed was forced off injured and replaced by Kano Pillars legend, Gambo Mohammed in the 49th minute.
Tornadoes were still turning heads and they proved that were ready to give Katsina United a good run for their money with another golden chance they spurned through Oche after a good pass from Abayomi in the 53rd minute.
There were further half chances in the game in the final 10 minutes but Katsina United saved the best for the last kick of the game through Ladua’s strike and the home team avoided another penalty shootout in the final after the semi-final games were decided through the same spotkicks.
Katsina United under new coach, Sadauki has begun his reins on a solid note after he recently replaced Henry Makinwa at the saddle.
The Changi Boys got a giant trophy and other mouthwatering incentives for winning the tournament while there were consolation prizes for Tornadoes who pushed the host team all the way before surenderimg the title in the dying moments of the game.
Governor Masari Preseason Tournament is an initiative of the Katsina State Honourable Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Hon. Aliyu Danlami and he also bankrolled it to keep the giant strides of Governor Aminu Masari at the forefront through sports.