By Salifu Usman, Abuja
The Kwara State under-16 male team took a big step toward defending their title as they crushed host Kano State 3-1 to reach the semifinals of the ongoing Ramat Cup tournament, yesterday.
The kwaran starlets outplayed the host team tagged tournament’s favourite due to their impressive performance in the group stage, a performance associated with a team ready to climb to the top.
The technical director of the kwara team, Sam Elijah, who spoke after the match, attributed his side’s victory to determination and focus, saying they were aware that it was a difficult task playing against the host.
He said with the victory against Kano in the quarterfinals, he was optimistic that the team will retain the trophy.
“We were worried when we got the quarterfinals ticket to play against the host state. We challenged the players to see the game as the final before the final, and thank God they won the match. So, I am optimistic that we are going to retain the trophy,” he said.
In other quarterfinal matches decided yesterday, Bauchi beat Kebbi 2-0 to book their place in the semifinals.
Oyo and Ogun also secured their place in the semifinals after overcoming Sokoto and Gombe respectively. While Oyo defeated Sokoto 2-1 in their quarterfinal match, Ogun edged out Gombe 3-2 on penalty after a 1-1 draw in regulation time.
The semifinal matches will be decided today inside the Pillars Stadium with Kwara taking on Bauchi, while Oyo and Ogun will slug it out in the South-west derby.