Africa: Impact Bowl keeping football alive in Ivory Coast

For the second straight year, the Riviera Golf Golden Eagles have captured the Ivory Coast’s Impact Bowl beating the Abidjan Black Scorpions 16-6 at Lycée Classique of Abidjan field.

Members of the Lagos Marines team from Nigeria and the MCIU University team from the Delta State (south region of Nigeria) came to the Ivory Coast especially for this game in order to help and be part of the officiating crew with Ivoirians. It was a gesture of brotherhood and a sign of American Football unity in West Africa.

Although football has been developing in the Ivory Coast for the past six years, it was only last year that there were enough players and equipment for two teams.

The first Impact Bowl was held in 2018.

The game was a contrast in styles. The run heavy offense of the Black Scorpions versus the pass-happy style used by the Golden Eagles.

And it was the Scorpions who dominated in the opening quarter,  as they ate up almost 13 minutes driving the ball deep into Riviera territory. However, Black Scorpions quarterback, Bobo, fumbled the ball on his way into the end zone and it was recovered by the Golden Eagles safety who returned it to the 40 yard line. Three plays later, Golden Eagles quarterback Samuel Beugre weaved his way to the end zone on a read option and Riviera took the lead, after a two point conversion, 8-0.

With plenty of time left in the second quarter, Abidjan methodically marched the ball down to the Golden Eagles 30 yard line. This time, Bobo made no mistake. He faked the handoff and found a hole off tackle and raced all the way to the end zone to narrow the lead to 8-6 after a failed two point conversion.

The Golden Eagles returned the ball on the ensuing kickoff to the Scorpions 40 yard line with seconds left on the clock. A last ditch pass attempt is too long for the receiver though and the half ends 8-6 in favor of Riviera.

Riviera opened the second half in explosive style as Beugre connected with wide receiver Efried Akossi for a 50 yard touchdown pass. Basile “Flash” Agnero scored on the two-point conversion and the Golden Eagles extended the lead to 16-6.

And that was how the score would remain as neither team could move the ball effectively after that.

Both teams will continue practicing, as they do all year long, while looking for games. Next up is the  Sankofa Bowl against Nigeria’s Lagos Marines.

Golden Eagles head coach Stephane-Frédéric Assane M’boua Nevry:

“This game is important but now we are looking for more opportunities to play other countries in Africa. Hopefully we can find a game soon.”

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