Nigeria’s Federation Cup is in its Quarter Final stage but very few are aware of what is going on and what clubs are playing.
Nigeria’s Cup culture is dying and almost dead and it seems the Nigeria Football Federation do not understand that the FA Cup is its flagship competition, and not the Super Eagles playing at the AFCON or the Super Falcons at World Cup, but how did we get here?
The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF has for the past two, maybe three decades been fixated on the Super Eagles, and some say, maybe, this is because of the windfall that comes from qualifying for the World Cup.
Every other thing went south, the other National Teams, the League, every other thing concerning Nigeria’s football and the results are being reaped right now.
In the 70s and 80s, the Challenge Cup, as it was called then, or the FA Cup as it was later known could not be played until this stage without the whole football part of the country being in frenzy, but no, the attention of the nation is now on the Super Eagles that still failed to qualify for the World Cup.
Round of 16 games? Who cares?
In the Round of 16 Games played over the weekend, Lobi Stars beat Akure City 1-0; Katsina United beat Sunshine Stars 5-3 via penalty shootout after full time ended 1-1 and Nasarawa United were 2-1 winners over Bendel Insurance.
In other results, Wikki Tourists beat El Kanemi Warriors 5-4 on penalties after Full time ended 0-0, while Heartland FC beat Dakkada FC 5-4 via penalty shootouts after Full Time ended 1-1. Niger Tornadoes edged out Green Beret with a 1-0 score line, while Kano Pillars beat DMD 2-0. In a late game played on Sunday, Kogi United knocked out Akwa United.
But, who really cares about these games as the hierarchy will rather focus on the Super Eagles than these ‘meaningless’ football matches.
New scandal from the Cup
Journalist, Tobi Adepoju posted on Social Media a few days ago that the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF had already submitted the name of Kwara United FC to CAF as the representative to the CAF Confederation Cup.
This representative is usually the winner of the Federation Cup. If this story is true, then obviously the clubs playing in the Cup are just in a friendly dead rubber tournament that can give them nothing. What manner of football administrators do we have in Nigeria?
AITEO? Who are they?
AITEO are the title sponsors of the Federation Cup, hence its moniker, AITEO Cup, but do the brand really care about what it has put so much money to sponsor? Are they bothered by its organisation?
If they did care, then they would have insisted on the right activation, stadium branding for games and media visibility, but no… Let us just spend money and be content with it being called, The AITEO Cup.
Incidentally, this year’s tournament seems like an instant noodles thing as the games are being rushed as though the proverbial trumpet is about to sound.
Eventually, it will come to an end, a winner emerging, not necessarily because we had a good Cup tournament with a worthy winner, but because we were under pressure to produce a representative for the CAF Confederation Cup (which is already in doubt with the recent rumours).
Next year? Soak, Wash, Rinse, Repeat… The lot of Nigerian football. And we wonder what is dying.