Airpop Alpha have been crowned as the new champions of the Mindgames Scrabble Premier League Division A while Southern Crowns claimed Division B title over the weekend in Lagos.
With 19 games left to play for and plenty of points on offer after 36 rounds, all contending team knew they have it all to do heading into Matchday 4 and 5.
Flamboyant Airpop Alpha consisting of Negro Igbinadolor, Hakeem Olaribigbe, Adewale Ogedengbe, Eta Karo, Nsikak Etim and Oshevire Avwenagha fought and held firmly at the top position they were before the final matchdays as second placed Lekki Bombers with Wellington Jighere who was leading the charge breathing down their necks.
Jighere would go ahead to claim the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the Division and win a cash prize of 200,000 naira.
However, the Adekoyejo Adegbesan-managed team had other ideas as they held their own to confirmed their superiority at round 17 on the night and won the 1.5 million naira prize-money and a trophy.
They would then complete the overall 55 rounds with 41 wins and 14 defeats with Olaribigbe as the team’s best individual player.
Lekki Bombers came second with 39 wins and 16 defeats while 2021 champions Brainiacs came third with 34 victories and 21 losses.
As promised, every game on table One was streamed live to a global audience by Will Anderson from Scopely, maker of the popular ScrabbleGo mobile app.
Hurricanes, Indomitables, Bulldozers, Supremes and Bayelsa Maestros were placed 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th respectively.
Tekena Drones, Phoenix and Gracious Pickers Team A were ranked 9th, 10th, and 11th while 12th placed Sterling Bombers were relegated to Division B.
An excited captain of the team Igbinadolor praised their club owner Adegbesan for reinforcing the squad with tested “wordlords” like former African champion Etim, Eta Karo and Oshevire Avwenagha.
“We couldn’t have done this without these fantastic players and the good leadership that we have! We got great players! “, he exclaimed, “We fortified and added steel to this team. We merged flamboyance and steel to this team and that gave us the championship!”
“I’m so excited! Its the first time we are winning it, we dreamt about it and its such a great feeling achieving our goal despite the plenty twist and turns which made this victory very sweet! ”
In the lite level, Southern Crowns shifted no territory at the top as they emerged as champions of Division B to claim the one million naira prize-money and a trophy.
They ended the season with 43 win and 12 defeats to gained promotion to the upper division ahead of Anagrammers, Bayelsa Virtuoso, Aries and D’Warriors who were ranked 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th at the end of the day.
Airpop Falcons, FPC Titans, High Flyers, Matadors, Encore Flamingos, BSP Rangers and Gracious Pickers finished in that order to complete the 12-team championship.
Meanwhile, Victor Osawe won 100,000 naira as the MVP.
A Gala Night held after games was attended by officials of the Nigeria Scrabble Federation, Oba Omogbolahan Lawal, the Oniru of Oniruland, President of Gambia Scrabble Association Dr Abba Hydara among other dignitaries.
Players and invited guests were treated to a colourful closing ceremony with suptuous food and drinks.
Initiator of the MSPL, Lukeman Owolabi while speaking after the gruelling season said he, “First of all let me thank God for his grace for making this a successful season. It’s been a long season starting from February up until this weekend. So we started the season in Lagos and we moved to Abuja in May and Benin was in July so this is the final weekend for the season.”
“Congratulations to Airpop Alpha for winning the 2022 season. It has been a long journey like I said we just hope to continue to improve on the standard and everything about the league.”
On introducing team aspect for scrabble which is mainly known as an individual game, Owolabi said:“I’m happy that MGI is the first organisation in the entire world to come up with this initiative, this has not been done anywhere in the world. So this is the first scrabble Premier League that you will see anywhere and we thank God for the success of the initiative and we pray that it continues to grow. And personally I’m going to use this opportunity to solicit sponsor from the corporate organisations because scrabble is a fantastic game, has a lot of benefits for the young and elderly. So it’s a game that sharpens your intellectual capacity.”
“One of the things we are trying to do is to engage the Nigerian youth, to help them take their minds away from crime. When you engage yourself playing scrabble it takes your mind away from negative things. We want to continue to do what we are doing and hopefully get support from the corporate organisations and I believe we will get to where we are going”, he concluded.