The 2022 Intervarsity Football Championship organized by the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education and the Sierra Leone Football Association sponsored by Sierra Leone Commercial Bank has come to an intriguing end and it was Njala University that emerged as the Champions for the first-ever Intervarsity Football Championship.
The final of the Intervarsity Football Championship took place yesterday at the Sierra Leone Football Academy, Kingtom, Freetown. Njala University defeated the University of Makeni to reach the final, while the University of Sierra Leone defeated Government Technical Institute to reach the final.
The match started with both teams in high spirit to win the competition. Njala University were dominant in the first half having one big chance and two potential penalties being denied. The University of Sierra Leone on the other hand were bit shaky in the first half and failed to put the Njala University goalkeeper to test with no shot on target. The first half of the match ended in a goalless draw.
After the first half of the match, the Deputy Minister of Technical and Higher Education and other hosts of dignitaries presented medals and trophies to the Men’s and Women’s Volleyball Teams. Njala University won the Men’s Volleyball Competition while the University of Sierra Leone won the Women’s Volleyball Competition. The Ministry of Technical and Higher Education and the Sierra Leone Football Association sponsored by the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank presented the sum of Le 7,500,000 to the winners of the Volleyball Competition and also a gold medal and a trophy.
After the presentation of the medals, cash and trophies to the Men’s and Women’s Volleyball teams of both Universities, the centre referee called the match for the second half. The second half was filled with suspense, fierce confrontations, and brawls. During the second half of the game, a red card was shown to a player from the University of Sierra Leone for elbowing Mahrez, the Njala University striker. The red card saw supporters of the University of Sierra invaded the pitch throwing tantrums at the referee but fortunately, the crowd was put into control by the Sierra Leone Police Force. In less than 10 minutes of play after the red card, Njala University got a red card which was given to their captain for stamping on the knee of a player from the University of Sierra Leone. The coach of Njala University wasn’t satisfied with the referee’s decision, he invaded the pitch and confronted the referee. He was later shown a red card by the young referee from the Western Area Rural Football Association.
After 27 minutes of play, the referee shocked the spectators by calling the match off and heading for penalties. No reason was given by the referee as to why he called off the match so early, but from what I gathered, he was afraid of the intensity and to prevent further altercations and brutal confrontations from the supporters of both Universities.
After a series of mishaps, the match finally goes to penalty as the two universities set to make history and win the first-ever Intervarsity Football Championship. Coaches of both teams sent their penalty takers’ list as they set to lift the gold trophy. It was the University of Sierra that took the first penalty kick and it was converted by their skipper. Njala University took the second penalty kick and it was converted. But things got interesting as the second penalty kick taker from the University of Sierra Leone failed to convert his chance as he sent the ball wide, leaving his team on the brink of losing the Intervarsity Football Championship to Njala University. The second penalty kick by Njala University skipper was saved by the University of Sierra Leone tall and lanky goalkeeper. Njala University converted their third penalty kick whilst the University of Sierra Leone failed to convert theirs and it was Chernor, the goalkeeper of Njala University who was the hero.
The final of the Intervarsity Football Championship ended in favour of Njala University as they won 4-3 by penalties against the University of Sierra Leone. Supporters of Njala University who drove from Bo and Moyamba danced in utmost joy and happiness chanting the name of their university, “Njalaaaaaaa, Njalalaaaaaahh”. Joy and sadness looked at each other as students of Njala University danced the last dance while students and supporters of the University of Sierra Leone bowed in sadness and pain. But the citizens of, the University of Sierra Leone showed true sportsmanship after the final whistle as they ran up to their supporters and thank them for their support and cheering. In the end, the players from both teams bromance together and chitchat because that’s what Football is all about – love and peace.
Cash of Le 10,000,000 ($1000), gold trophy and gold medals were given to Njala University for winning the Intervarsity Football Championship. The trophy, medals and cash were presented by the Deputy Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Sierra Leone.