Twenty (20) male colts teams took part in the tournament in a U-11, U-13 and U-15 categories. One of such teams was Kayonga King Faisal from the Bongo District in the Upper East Region.
Before the tournament, much was not known of the side but the team took everyone by surprise with their beautiful, attacking football while also not conceding too many goals. In fact, the team let in just two goals during the entire tournament.
Kayonga King Faisal was drawn in group A together with Young Ashford, Pride FC, Young Zaurungo FC and Soe Stoppers FC. Many sports enthusiasts gave them very little chance of making it out of the group, especially considering the fact that it was their first time taking part in the competition
But the team qualified from the group with the maximum 12 points, scoring 12 goals and conceding just one in the process. According to their coach Atimolgo Mark, their target was met after reaching the quarterfinals and anything from there would be considered a bonus.
However, his side scored Sumbrungu FC 1-0 in the quarterfinals to book a semifinal battle with one of the well-financed and organized colts teams in the region, Bolga All Stars Babies.
The performance of Kayonga King Faisal in the semifinals against Bolga All Stars clearly showed the team was poised to make history as they dominated proceedings and deservedly won the match 2-0 to set up a final showdown with GARU Soccer Stars.
In the grand finale, Kayonga King Faisal played one of the best football ever seen at the Bolgatanga St John’s Park in recent times as they entertained fans to a tiki-taka-like football, while creating a lot of scoring chances.
It, therefore, did not come as a surprise when they raced onto a 2-0 lead at the end of the first half. GARU Soccer Stars, however managed to pull one back in the second half to end the match 2-1 in favor of King Faisal. The team did not only win the U-13 Category but also produced the category’s best goalkeeper, Abanga Gideon, top-scorer in Atimolgo Peter and the overall best player of the division, Aduko Michael who was a delight to watch during the entire tournament.
The magnificent performance of King Faisal goes to re-strengthen the argument that talents are bound in every corner of Ghana and that teams from the hinterlands can compete with those in the bigger cities, given similar opportunities.
To win the tournament with a 100% record – against notable and well-established teams in the region like Bolga All Star Babies, Soe Soccer Masters, Bolga FC, Stoppers etc – tells us the quality of the side and if management of the team can keep this side together, they will be a torn in the flesh of many teams in the region and the country at large.
And if Aduko Michael and Atimolgo Peter can maintain their composure, self-discipline and keep the kind of form they showed at the ZIDA tournament in future tournaments, then I must say the sky will be the beginning for their football careers.
The two players showed a lot of class and were clearly ahead of their peers and it did not come as a surprise to many watchers of the tournament when Aduko Michael and Atimolgo Peter won the Best Player and Top Scorer awards, respectively, at the end of the tournament.
Congratulations to Kayonga King Faisal for showing that football is not only played in the bigger cities.
The Zida Juvenile tournament is an annual juvenile football championship being organized by the owner and bankroller of BOLGA ALL STARS and member of the defunct Ghana Football Association Executive Committee, Mr. Salifu Zida as way of nurturing talents for the Upper East region and this year`s edition was the 10th since the tournament started in 2009.
LONG LIVE KAYONGA KING FAISAL, LONG LIVE THE ZIDA TOURNAMENT, LONG LIVE UPPER EAST FOOTBALL.
Feature written by Abagna Jose Nelson (Sports Journalist)