The 10th edition of the Annual Maritime Cup Competition organised by Ships & Ports kicked off in grand style at the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) Sports Ground, Surulere, Lagos on Tuesday with the opening match between defending champions Nigeria Customs Service and the Certified Institute of Shipping (CIS) ending in a 1-1 draw.
Philip Dauzi scored the first goal for CIS in the eight minute of the match while Henry Nwakoni equalised for the Customs team in the 95th minute of the tension-soaked encounter.
The opening ceremony of the tournament, which has grown in popularity ever since it was launched in 2009, was witnessed by several maritime industry stakeholders and football fans.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Chief Executive Officer of Ships & Ports, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, said the tournament was part of the company’s effort in contributing to the development of the maritime industry through fostering friendship and the spirit of camaraderie.
Akinola, who recalled how the competition started with only four teams in 2009, expressed delight that the aim of the competition was being achieved with the level of participation so far over the years.
“We started this competition 10 years ago and I am happy to say that the Maritime Cup is 10 years old today. We started very small with only four teams but here we are, we are growing.
“Three years ago, we had 16 teams participating in the competition but then because of exigency of duty and changing priorities, we were able to put together eight teams this year. But the quality of participation is the most important to us.
“Since we started the competition, we have seen various interest groups in the industry come together. Ordinarily, people who would possibly not have met in the course of duty are meeting annually on the football pitch due to the opportunity provided by the Maritime Cup competition.
“I am happy that the objective for which the competition was set up is being achieved,” he said.
He expressed appreciation to the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman and Dangote Group for supporting the competition.
Representative of the Managing Director of NPA; the General Manager, Human Resources, Yahaya Bukar, who officially kicked off the opening match, commended Ships & Ports for initiating and sustaining the Maritime Cup competition over the years, an achievement he described as a great feat.
Eight teams, including the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Nigerian Navy, NPA, Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT), Apapa Bulk Terminal (ABTL), Josephdam Port Services, Customs and CIS are participating in this year’s competition.