Anunu Stars, the local football team of Umuanunu Nsu has retained the Nsu Cup as the team galloped over their opponents, the Umuakagu football team in the finals of the 2018 season of Nsu football competition.
Umuanunu Nsu is a hilly community in Nsu, Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State. It is one of the nine communities that make up Nsu. The football competition among the communities is usually the climax of activities marking Nsu annual mass return in celebration of Ibo Uzo, Christmas and Iwa Akwa ceremonies.
The Anunu Stars also known as the Flying Antelopes demonstrated a lot of determination to overpower roaring team from Umuakagu who enjoyed the home advantage in the epic final. The Umuakagu team had gotten an early lead which was cancelled by a superlative goal scored by Gift Nwokeke thus dragging the match into a penalty shut out during which the Michael Anyanwu coached Anunu Stars emerged victorious. With the 4 to 3 goals aggregates the Anunu Stars won the Nsu cup back to back having won the cup in the 2017 edition of the highly competitive tournament. A total of eight villages in Nsu usually file out every year to compete for the trophy which was donated by Sir Ikenna Chukwuocha also known as White Lion with a price money of one million naira.
Anunu team coach Mr Anyanwu had elogised his boys for the gallantry saying that the team is capable of winning any opponent as to emerge the best in Imo State. He said that Umuanunu is roaring to enter the Simon Nwokorie captained team for the Imo community shield in a manner that will enable him showcase the football talents which is in abundance in Umuanunu.
The rise to glory of Umuanunu in sports started in the 60s. The squared that brought glory in this era included late Sir Calistus Uwakwe, late Romanus Ijere, late Emma Ogbonna, Nze Eugene Ihembu (goal keeper), Prof Alpho Anyanwu, Engr Clement Chukwu, Chief Grey Okereke, Sir Joe Ogbonna, CJ Okereke and others I am yet to recollect. These patriotic Umuanunu men broke an all time record of winning the highly competitive Ebichi cup. Their winning streak continued to after the war. Chief Grey Okereke was a star dribbler. He was so good at it that in one of the matches at Ezeoke field, he dribbled an opponent so much and to the irritation of an irate fan who impulsively jumped into the field and stabbed him on the leg. Within this era too, Umuanunu produced one of the most respected football referees in the person of Dr Felix Egerue. The next generation of Umuanunu star footballers included Felix Nwaokeke (Efeco), late Celestine Anyanwu, Chief Bonaventure Ibe (star goal keeper). Cosmas Ebere Anyanwu Patrick Ibe, Ignatius Ihembu featured at this time.
Following this generation was the sparkle of Nnamdi Nwaokeke (Onye Army) and his team which included Benbella whom we nicknamed Census because of his ability to dribble from post to post as if he was counting the players. Nnamdi Nwaokeke was magical, superlative and indeed splendid. His shorts thunders with indescribable precision. What kept Umuanunu going was unity and a high sense of purpose.
The youths of Umuanunu were fired by this zeal. Long before M. O. Ijere travelled to Fourah Bay for his university education, he was an outstanding youth leader and choirmaster. Umuanunu had the best choir in Nsu and were a sight to behold as they conducted their Christmas carol. Ijere was later to become the first Okigwe man to earn a PhD. This feat was to encourage other Umuanunu young men of this era to venture and achieve first in various professions such as late Engr M. O. Ebizie as the first civil engineer in Nsu, late Sir Romanus Nwaokoro as the first automobile Engineer in Nsu (both British trained), lady Sussana Nnadozie (nee Egerue) as the first trained female teacher of high elementary standard in Nsu. She was later to be the first Nsu woman to own and driver a car. Umuanunu was also the first to produce a Rev Father in Nsu in the person of Dr Felix Egerue.
This was a big feat in the 70s. Of course this was not surprising because shortly after the completion of the cathedral building at Agbaghara, ambitious Umuanunu commenced the building of their own church. This was in the 50s. Given Umuanunu’s low population at this time, this seemed unattainable but the spirit and test was unquenchable. Umuanunu people in Port Harcourt led by patriots like late Kieran Gbaghara copied and brought the church building plan and the rest is history. Umuanunu never comes last. We are always in the forefront. My foray into insurance saw me become the first professionally qualified insurance practitioner from Nsu with all the available fellowship. Professor M. O. Ijere was the first Nsu man to be made a commissioner in the old East Central State. He and Chief IG Okereke led Nsu as President General. Chief IG Okereke was so successful in Business that he was crowned the Osimiri atata of Nsu. His Nsu motors company was the mother hen to a lot of Nsu entrepreneurs.
One of the motivating forces for Umuanunu is the fact that other people tended to look down on her as a smaller community. This was because of the community small population size and the fact that our hilly topography tended to discourage people from visiting Umuanunu to understand and appreciate her.