After settling for a heart-breaking runner-up finish in Season 2, Ghana F.C. dominated and broke through against the Super Eagles in their Philam Life 7s Football League men’s final rematch, 3-1, to emerge as champions in Season 3 Sunday at the McKinley Hill Stadium.
The Ayi Bimbo-mentored squad shocked the packed venue by controlling possession and scoring two quick goals in the first half, coming from forwards Emmanuel Mbata and Daniel Ashley to go up 2-0 in a 10-minute span.
It left the Super Eagles flat and unable to dictate the pace throughout the match as the ousted champions played catch-up for the entire duration.
In the second half, Super Eagles tried to mount a comeback with Emmanuel Sylvernus converting a goal. However, the defense and crisp passing of Ghana F.C. were too much to handle for them, and striker Junior Sam chipped in another goal to secure the victory.
“When we scored 2-0 in the first half, Super Eagles’ confidence was really shut down and even if they scored a goal in the second half, we were not worried because I know we can score another goal to seal the win. I knew already that we will get another goal,” said Bimbo.
“It was really hard for us to keep it at a clean sheet because of their pressing but I was glad that after they scored their lone goal, my teammates tried their best to score another one to kill their momentum,” added Steve Waledji.
“When I said that we will go all the way, I meant it. We were not going to think about our opponent, and we just focused on winning. I told (my guys) that this is not a revenge game. I told them that let’s all have fun,” added Bimbo.
In the women’s division, it was Outkast F.C. prevailing over the tough Stallion-Hiraya side, coming from behind to bag home the inaugural Philam Life 7s Women’s Football League title via a 2-1 win.
Hiraya’s Aiza Mondero opened the scoring in the final, as her side kept pressing early on in the first half. Stallion-Hiraya looked good after 25 minutes, but Outkast relied on veterans Let Dimzon and Loreta Ladero to pour in two goals to complete their comeback.
Ladero’s go-ahead goal came in the second half as she volleyed a cross from Alesa Dolino that went past Hiraya coach-goal keeper Haya Ibarra.
Their defense also tightened in the second half, as Stallion-Hiraya had a difficult time on their counter attacks and the Keuts Smith-managed squad controlled the possessions just enough to preserve the win.
“Maganda ‘yung chemistry namin tsaka guided kami ni Coach Let. ‘Yung system na pinasa niya sa amin is maganda kasi siya ang nakakaalam ng lahat ng nangyayari sa loob. ‘Yun talaga nagdala sa amin sa laro na ito. Siya ‘yung utak namin kaya sa kanya kami kumukuha ng tips,” said Mea Bernal.
“It feels great. I think what made the victory even better is we first had a hard time in the league, we started at the bottom of the standings. Fast forward to now, we were trailing 0-1 at the half time and we won. (All those hardships) made the victory even better,” said team manager Keuts Smith.
In the Philam Life 7s Football League all-star game, Team Foreigner All-Stars, coached by Danny Kross, walloped Bimbo’s Team Filipino All-Stars, 5-nil in the seasonal centerpiece of the league.
Strikers Kathy Aihunu and David Asare sparked Team Foreigners’ torrid start on offense by converting two goals in the first half. Hamed Hajimehdi, Stacey Arthur, and Ebere Ogochukwu scored one goal each to add on to their goal total as they built an insurmountable lead against Team Philippines.
Having topnotch goal keepers like Dini Outtara and Abu Ibrahim also helped the squad maintain the clean sheet throughout the match. The Foreigner All-Stars had players like Gui Matsunaga, Joaco Canas, Otuyemi Emmanuel, Hideo Muraoka, Petar Sajko, and Tako Odawara.
The Filipino All-Stars were bannered by Daniel Matsunaga, Anton Del Rosario, Roberto Orlandez, Roberto Corsame, Cedric Hodreal, Rafael Halili, Mateo Yuhico, Amanda Fernandez, and Joyce Semacio, to name a few.
In the 7s Youth League, it was Sugod, Sugod A, and Bohemian who emerged as best teams in their respective age brackets.
Sugod posted huge wins against Kaya A (4-1) and Kaya B (6-0) in the U5 division, while Sugod A won over Sugod B (1-0) and G8 B (8-1) in the U7 division.
Bohemian dominated in the U9 division by posting clean sheets against Bannister (3-0) and San Lo F.C. (8-0).
Here are the complete results for Match Day 14:
Philam Life 7s Youth League:
Kaya A 3, Kaya B 3
Sugod 4, Kaya A 1
Kaya A 2, G8 1
Kaya B 5, Sugod 1
Sugod 6, Kaya B 0
Kaya B 3, G8 0
Mondo 3, G8 2
G8 4, G8 B 3
G8 B 3, Mondo 3
Sugod A 8, G8 B 1
Sugod B 5, Sugod A 0
Sugod B 3, Mondo 1
Sugod A 1, Sugod B 0
Sugod B 5, G8 1
Sugod B 1, San Lo F.C. 0
Bohemian 3, Bannister 0
San Lo F.C. 2, Marista 0
Bohemian 8, San Lo F.C. 0
Sugod A 2, Sugod B 0
Mondo 2, Marista 1
7s Football League All-Star Game:
Team World 5, Team Philippines 0
Women’s 7s Football League:
Outkast F.C. 2, Stallions-Hiraya F.C. 1
Philam Life 7s Football League Men
Ghana F.C. 3, Super Eagles 1