Guinness Night Football: The stats behind the final

Team Bold United beat Team Golden Harps at the Pan-African extravaganza in Lagos at the end of January, but does the scoreline tell the true story?

Guinness Night Football came to a breathtaking conclusion in Lagos at the end of January, as Team Bold United defeated Team Golden Harps to clinch the title, but did the match stats tell the same story as the final 3-2 scoreline?

The final was the climax of months of competition across Africa as the finest 5-a-side players from Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria competed for the opportunity to prove that they were ‘Made of More’.

The 5-a-side final was the centrepiece of an outstanding event at the Legend Hotel, Ikeja, where African music superstars Bebe Cool, Davido, Salatiel, Sauti Sol and DJ Neptune rocked the house before attention turned to the football.

The musical stars also took part in the final itself, with Davido and Bebe Cool donning fluorescent yellow to spur on Team Bold, taking part in the kickoff and then shouting words of encouragement and tactical advice to their team from the touchline.

For Team Golden Harps, Cameroonian superstar Salatiel and Kenya’s Savara of Sauti Sol offered celebrity support from the sidelines, although they ultimately weren’t able to help their team over the line.

Captain Calvin Ogalo of Kenya was one of the stars of the tournament, and inspired his team to victory in a stirring final.

The versatile Chelsea fan dazzled spectators with his skills and grit at the GNF event in Kenya, and again stole the show in Lagos, as his double sent Team Bold on their way to victory.

“This is a big boost for my career and it will motivate me to push harder towards achieving greater things in football,” said Ogalo. “I will forever be thankful to Guinness for this rare privilege.”

Ogalo may have won the plaudits due to his offensive contributions, but also he led a magnificent defensive showing from Team Bold United which underpinned their eventual success.

They attempted 18 tackles to Golden Harps’ 14, winning 15 of those compared to their opponents’ 12.

Similarly, they registered five saves to their opposition’s two, with their last line of defence meaning that even though they were outplayed and outgunned for portions of the contest, they were able to keep their foe at bay when it mattered most.

Had Golden Harps managed to replicate Bold United’s defensive display, they, not the eventual winners, would have clinched GNF’s top prize.

While Prince Kazeem, from Nigeria, scored a brace to give Team Golden Harps hope of victory, Cameroon’s Membouew Fokouen ultimately scored a decisive third to seal the win.

In truth, Golden Harps have a lot to be proud of following a fine display which, on another day, could have gone their way.

With the ball at their feet, they were actually the stronger side, completing 115 of their 154 passes – for a 74.6 percent success rate – compared to a 61.6 percent success rate for Bold United.

Similarly, when it came to the combat of the contest, they outperformed their opponents in one-on-ones, winning five to Bold United’s three.

While they attempted five more shots than the eventual champions (22 to 17), and registered more on target (seven to five), their profligacy in front of goal and inability to deny Bold at the back cost them.

Ultimately, the only stat that mattered for the champions was the scoreline, and the 3-2 victory that ensured Bold United were the inaugural victors of Guinness Night Football.

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