On Saturday, February 1st, 2020, the football team of the Department of Mechanical Engineering won the Dean’s Cup competition for the second year in a row.
Their successful defense of the trophy included a series of dominant displays that went some way in cementing their status as the most exceptional team in the Faculty of Technology. While that dominance was particularly refreshing to see following the heartache the team experienced in the Gala Cup finals, the high levels of fitness and quality of play that brought about it weren’t things they stumbled upon overnight.
Speaking to the Press about the Gala Cup and how the team reacted to failure in the competition, NiMechE-UI sports director Tosin Ayanleye said: “It was a trophy we felt we deserved. We had an amazing tournament but couldn’t get over the line, and it was disappointing to come in second place. But we knew we couldn’t let that bring us down. After our defeat, the team trained a lot harder. There was a good level of commitment shown by every member of the squad”.
He went on to speak about what changed in the mentality of the team between the Gala Cup and Dean’s Cup, saying: “We made sure that the voices of ‘ginger’ amongst our players were made to be heard the loudest. We also ensured that the players who showed higher levels of commitment were rewarded. Of course, that went some way in shattering the inferiority complex and timidity of our lower level players.” He maintained that going into the Dean’s Cup, every member of the team knew that gold would be the only compensation. They sure played like it; the competition’s best goal record, best defensive record, and an unbeaten run are stats that point to the fact that all the hard work and motivation paid off.
Apart from medals and a trophy, the team was also rewarded with a Forty Thousand Naira (#40,000) cash prize. The sports director in his discussion with our press correspondent revealed that upon deliberation with the coach and captain of the team, it was decided that the best way to utilize the funds was using it to improve the general quality of soccer in Mech. He said: “We used the prize money to upgrade the quality of our training sessions by purchasing training bibs, training cones, and a new ball. We also numbered the shirts and shorts of the beautiful new jerseys we bought, then we tagged them to prevent them from getting ‘borrowed’”
Modern training equipment, a group of talented and confident players, and a culture of winning that is becoming the norm; all the evidence point to the fact the future is bright for Mech FC. The Sports Director, speaking on his expectations for the nearest future, remarked: “With the equipment we have procured and the quality of players that we are leaving behind, I believe that Mech FC will be crowned champions in the Dean’s Cup for the third year in a row.” He also added that he expects the team to break its ‘finalist jinx’ in the Gala Cup, having lost two consecutive finals in the competition.
Of course, only future time can tell whether these expectations will turn out to be the reality.
For now, though, present time has told. It spoke of a memorable year for soccer in the department of Mechanical Engineering.
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