NPA begins title defence, beats HPI 4-0 in 2019 Maritime Cup

The 11th Annual Ships & Ports Maritime Cup Competition kicked off in Lagos on Tuesday with defending champions, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) defeating Higher Pacific International (HPI) 4-0.

NPA’s top striker, Mustapha Ashiru scored a hat-trick in the 10th, 40th and 60th minutes, while Bello Haruna scored the fourth goal in the 65th minute of the match.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the competition, which attracted notable industry stakeholders, the Chief Executive Officer of Ships & Ports, Bolaji Akinola, said the idea behind the tournament was to foster unity and cooperation among industry stakeholders.

He urged the participating teams to ensure fair play and decency in the course of the competition, stating that the tournament was not only about playing to win but also as an avenue to build a friendship.

“The Maritime Cup competition is like the Olympics. The joy is more in participation and not just the laurels at stake. The idea behind it is to bring the maritime industry together and foster healthy recreation among workers. We are one family in this industry, so we need to socialize, interact and play together. That has been the essence since 11 years ago and up till today,” Akinola said.

He noted that the competition in recent years had been devoid of acrimony and unhealthy rivalry associated with most football competitions because of the decision of the organisers to weed out mercenaries.

Akinola, who announced a N1million cash prize for the winner of the competition said the first and second runners-up will go home with N300,000 and N200,000 respectively.

The participating teams in Group A include NPA, HPI, ENL Consortium, and Dangote Ports Operation, while Group B has the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT), Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL), and Josephdam Port Services (JPS).

The 2019 Maritime Cup Competition is supported by Morbod Group, NPA and Dangote Ports Operation.

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