The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) defeated defending champions of the Maritime Cup Competition, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), by a lone goal when they locked horns yesterday in the opening match of the Annual Ships and Ports Soccer Challenge, which is in its fifth edition.
The only goal of the match was scored by Femi Ogunrinde through a penalty kick in the 12th minute of the second half.
The 5th Maritime Cup Competition, which commenced at the Legacy Stadium Astro Turf of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. has continued to elicit closer working relationships among operators and stakeholders in the maritime sector, according to the Association of Team Managers (ATM).
The opening match was kicked off by the Managing Director of APM Terminals Apapa Limited, Mr. Dallas Hampton, and was attended by senior representatives of virtually all public and private organisations in the maritime sector.
At the draws of the competition held in Apapa, Lagos recently, NIMASA and the NCS were drawn in Group A, alongside the Certified Institute of Shipping (CIS) and SDV/Bollore Group.
A total of 16 teams participated in the draws.
The team include: Micura, Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), National Association of Government Approved Forwarders (NAGAFF) and APM Terminals, playing in Group B; Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigerian Navy (NN), Association of Registered Freight Forwarders,Nigeria (AREFFN) and Blue Ocean in Group C; Sifax Group, ENL Consortium Limited, Ocean Star and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) in Group D.
Coordinator of the Draws and Chairman Lagos State Referees Council, Prince Adesegun Kosoko, Kosoko charged the participating teams not to see the competition as a must-win, but, rather, as an avenue of meeting themselves outside their various business environments.
He commended the organisers, Ships & Ports Communication Company, for their effort in promoting sporting activities in the Nigerian maritime sector, noting that that the competition has grown, considering the first edition that was played at the Nigerian Navy Barracks in Apapa, Lagos, with only six teams in 2009.
Chief Executive Officer of Ships & Ports Communication Company, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, said that his company’s decision to organise the competition on an annual basis is to promote the spirit of sportsmanship in the Nigerian maritime industry.
He said that, since inception of the competition, there has not been any incident and urged the teams to maintain that record as well as strengthen relations among themselves.
Past winners of the competition include the Nigeria Customs Service (2011 and 2012); Micura (2010);. and Nigerian Navy (2009).
Akinola disclosed that this year’s Maritime Cup is named sponsored by Micura Stevedoring Services in honour of Pa John Okunloye, the late father of the Chairman of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup.
He added that while the winner of the competition will go home with N500, 000.00; the second and the third position will receive N300, 000.00 and N200, 000.00, respectively.
Other sponsors of this year’s competition, apart from Micura, include APM Terminals Apapa, sponsoring the Fair Play Award; Sifax Group, sponsoring the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award; and Sopetro, which is sponsoring the Highest Goal Scorer Award.