The energetic and determined side brushed aside Ridge Church 15-8 in an epic final game at the Aviation Social Centre in front of a packed crowd.
There was massive improvement from the ten participating schools as they treated crazy basketball fans to some scintillating and delectable piece of skills on the court.
Indeed one of the most antagonistic and excruciating rivalries in Ghana juvenile basketball were installed for fans and it was every bit as passionate and controversial as usual that made the vengeance worth witnessing.
Despite winning the Greater Accra championship on March 7, many pundits doubted the ability of the Burma-camp based side to make it a double-decker in the grand finale, but coach Raymond Maha’s young charges silenced their critics with some breathtaking display on the court.
Ghana basketball at the basic level has had its own share of age-long rivalries. The Battle of Burma-Camp: Kotoka and Garrison have ragged for several years. Recently we’ve also seen an emerging rivalry involving Forces Primary and JHS Kalvary and Kotoka Preparatory and Junior High School.
But none of these battles can be compared with the strife for supremacy between Air Force and Ridge Church School and the desire to write their names in record books, the efficacy to buy bragging rights at whatever price always serves as the impetus to carry victory on the day.
Air Force started the competition on a blistering fashion, beating highly fancied Ghana Lebanon and Islamic School 14-9 to set the tone for their second victory against ‘petite’ looking St Joseph’s 15-5 and in the process set-up a semi-final date with Eastern regional champions Anglican Junior High School.
It was a befitting game to watch after Anglican JHS themselves had beaten this year’s Greater Accra bridesmaid Kotoka Preparatory and JHS 9-3 before securing a comfortable 15-10 success over Kalvary JHS.
Their semi-final duel was exciting as both teams displayed amazing team spirit and chemistry but in the end the resilience of Air Force came to the fore as they booked the final ticket at the expense of Coach Eddy Teye’s charges.
Ridge Church came fourth during the competition in the Greater Accra region, but they showed the two-week break was helpful as they exhibited massive improvement in the finals. They overcame Central regional champions Catholic Jubilee 20-13 before accounting for Garrison Basic School.
Indeed Catholic Jubilee who were tipped by fans as the overwhelming favourite for the title, cracked under expectations. The rapturous inferno from the thousands of fans could be identified as their bane. Their defense was weak and despite having enormous chances on the offensive, they fluffed most of them with star man Kingsley Whyte the major culprit.
Anglican JHS went back home with some pride after they picked bronze following their victory over GLISS in the third and fourth placed match.
Young power forward and captain of Air Force Mohammed Hussein Abukari was adjudged the Most Valuable Player of the competition and won a one-year educational scholarship from an Accra-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Slum Your Dream.
Young tongue-twisting Malaika and Lil Waxy from Force JHS took the best rap group while Cosmos Preparatory and JHS were adjudged the best Choreography group, with SOS village-Tema placing second and Achimota Preparatory and JHS taking the third position.
The grand finale was heavily represented with Minister of Youth and Sports Hon. Clement Kofi Humado in full flight. Also present was the three –time former WBC Welterweight champion and American Boxing Hall of Famer, Prof Azumah Nelson together with the Category Business Manager, Nestle– Beverages, Central and West Africa, Samuel Osafo and Sales Manager of Indomie Instant Noodles, Kwesi Martinson.
Chief Development Officer of the National Sports Council, Erasmus Adorkor stood in for his boss Worlanyo Agrah while the entertainment front was heavily attended by Afro-Pop king, J Ghartey and the country’s fastest rising comedian Funny Face who thrilled the crowd with his jokes and dance.
The Ghana basketball Association also has representatives in attendance.
In all it could best be described as a day that will leave an imprint in the minds of fans for at least a year to come.
The 2011 Milo Junior Ball was brought to you by Milo- the energy food drink of future champions and supported by Indomie Instant Noodles, DDP outdoor and the Aviation Social Centre.
By: Patrick Akoto