By Tayo Ogunseye
Freshly-minted African Scrabble Championship (ASC) winner, Enoch Nwali has been honoured with a cash reward by the organisers of the Emmanuel Egbele Annual Scrabble Tournament (EEAST) for his remarkable performance at the biennial tournament.
The prodigy who is the current EEAST champion, climbed to the peak of the African scrabble summit in Lusaka, Zambia with a superlative performance when he started Day One by winning all 8 rounds without dropping a single game.
That would set the tone for a memorable championship for the University of Lagos undergraduate who confirmed his new status in a dramatic fashion on the final day by defeating two-time African champion and former World Champion Wellington Jighere with a single point as he recorded 514-513 result in round 31 and subsequently won the tournament with an overall result of 25 wins, one draw and 6 defeats.
His victory over his more accomplished compatriot was similar to how he picked the ‘Sophomore’ edition of the EEAST in June.
Speaking at a mini-reception held at an elegant location in Lagos in his honour, the initiator of the tournament, Emmanuel Egbele said being an ambassador of the EEAST, they decided to place a value of 2,000 naira on every of the 25½ game he won with an additional 50,000 naira which amounted to 101,000 naira.
He stated that they were very proud of his continental success.
“The significance is as a brand, we support excellence and being our current champion and going on to excel very well, is a thing of pride to our brand and it gives us joy that’s why we are associating with this success he has achieved. You know,” he continued, “he won our tournament in June which was a platform he used for preparing himself for the African Championship and other international competitions and having done well, we felt it was important to honour and reward him.”he revealed.
A surprised and elated Nwali was full of commendation for the reward by the EEAST team.
” I feel very elated and it’s so good to be part of the EEAST brand. You know, this is like a dream come true for me seeing myself winning the African Scrabble Championship and feel very happy to have made this brand proud in Lusaka.”
After he was presented with the cheque, Captain of Lekki Scrabble Club, Ebikeme Adowei said “first of all we are proud to be associated with him and we feel appreciating him with this gesture will encourage him to win more.”
He added that “as a young chap who still has many years ahead of him, we feel by encouraging him with this gesture, it will spur him and other young ones that hardwork is appreciated and rewarded.”
Coordinator, Hakeem Olaribigbe urged individuals and corporate entities to latch on the growing status of the sport as a way of educating and encouraging youths to keep them off societal vices.
Nigeria has won 13 out-of 14 editions of the African Tourney and remains the best scrabble playing nation in the world.