By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
To promote healthy living among priests, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor on Saturday, April 13, 2019, flagged off the 2019 Awka Diocesan Priests' Sports Fiesta, at the over 50,000 capacity St Anthony's International Stadium, St Anthony Catholic Parish, Enugwu-Ukwu, Njiloka L.G.A, Anambra State.
The sports fiesta which was organised by the Directorate of Sports Awka Diocese (DOSAD), was the second of such sports for the priests.
According to the programme released by DOSAD, the sports fiesta would feature Football, Volleyball, Lawn Tennis, Table Tennis and Badminton, among the priests, who were divided into six houses and two groups for the tournament.
DOSAD revealed that the main sports competition which would last for 10 days, would kick off on Saturday May 4, 2019, and continued every other Saturdays till July 6, 2019. The semi-finals would be on June 29, 2019 while the grand finale and presentation of prizes to the winners would be on Saturday, July 6, 2019.
Speaking on the occasion, Bishop Ezeokafor, noted that sports promote healthy living and helped one to free his hearts of tension. He commended the DOSAD Director, Rev. Fr. Coach Obinna Dike, for his exploits in sports and for the all-important sports fiesta, organized for the wellbeing of the priests of the diocese.
The Catholic prelate, who encouraged all to dedicate time to sports and exercises for their healthy body, equally applauded the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the 2019 Sports Fiesta, led by the chairman, Rev. Fr. Francis Chidume (chancellor, Awka Catholic Diocese), for the well-planned event.
He appreciated the member representing Awka South A Constituency in Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Dr. Nnamdi G. Okafor, for the entire sets of jerseys, he donated to the six houses for the priests' sports fiesta.
Bishop Ezeokafor, expressed his delight that the April 13 sports event kicked off with 13th Congress in honour of Holy Mother Mary. He supported the Block Rosary Crusade Group that led in the 13th Congress prayer with N50, 000.00.
For the tournament, the priests were divided into groups 1 and 2. Group 1comprised of: House A- Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor House (Red House), House B- Bishop Simon Okafor House (Yellow House and House C- Bishop Solomon Amatu House (Black House). Group 2 comprised of: House D- Archbishop Albert Obiefuna House (Blue House), House E- Bishop Peter Okpaleke House (Green House) and House F- Bishop Jonas Benson Okoye House (White House).
The fixtures of the games as released by DOSAD include:
Day 1- May 4, 2019: Football / Badminton – House A vs House B. Volleyball/Table Tennis - House D vs House F
Day 2- May 11, 2019: Football/Badminton – House D vs House F. Volleyball/Table Tennis – House A vs House C.
Day 3 – May 18, 2019: Football/Badminton – House C vs House A. Volleyball/Table Tennis – House D vs House E.
Day 4 – May 25, 2019: Football/Badminton – House F vs House E. Volleyball/Table Tennis – House A vs House B.
Day 5 – June 1, 2019: Football/Badminton – House B vs House C. Volleyball/Table Tennis – House E vs House F.
Day 6 – June 8, 2019: Football/Badminton – House D vs House E. Volleyball/Table Tennis – House C vs House B.
Day 7- June 15, 2019 – Semi-final Stage:
1st in Group 1 vs 2nd in Group 2 – Football, Badminton, Volleyball & Table Tennis
Day 8- June 22, 2019 – Semi-final Stage:
1st in Group 2 vs 2nd in Group 1 – Football, Badminton, Volleyball & Table Tennis
Day 9 – June 29, 2019 – A, 3rd Place Football
Loser semi-final 1 vs Loser semi-final 2
B. Finals Badminton, Volleyball & Table Tennis- Winner semi-final 1 vs Winner semi-final 2
Day 10 – July 6, 2019 – Grand Finale Football: winners semi-final 1 & 2, and Trophy / Prize Presentations.