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Nigerian Football

Agege Stadium Hosts AITEO Cup Final

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

 

The Agege Stadium in Lagos is set to be the 13th stadium to host a Nigerian national cup final match.

According to a media release on Sunday by the Media Department of the Nigeria Football Federation on Sunday evening, top officials of the federation led by its president, Amaju Pinnick were at the stadium on Sunday on a first inspection ahead of the final match which Sports Village Square had exclusively reported that it had been moved from the original date of October 8 to October 15.

The NFF chief was joined by senior vice president, Seyi Akinwunmi, and the 2nd Vice President/LMC chairman, Shehu Dikko, Executive Committee members Sharif Rabiu Inuwa and Aisha Falode, President of the Nigeria Referees Association, Tade Azeez, NFF’s Director of Communications Ademola Olajire and CAF Assistant General Coordinator Samson Adamu.

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The immediate past final of the national cup which was then called Federation Cup took place as the more expansive Teslim Balogun Stadium, an arena named after a legend of the national cup when it was Governor’s Cup and later the Challenge Cup.

No reason was given for the choice of the compact and less than 5,000 capacity stadium which is the home ground of the NPFL runners-up, MFM. But Sports Village Square believes it is possibly to test run the suitability of the arena for CAF Champions League matches next season as the MFM may have preference for the arena which its supporters have nicknamed “The Temple”.

It is the first time the arena set up by the Western Regional Government of Chief Obafemi Awolowo as play ground for the industrial district of Ikeja as playground, will host a national cup final.

The national cup final which began as Governor’s Cup had its origin at Onikan Stadium which was then known as Association Ground. It hosted the national final under different names from 1945 to 1972 as it changed names from Association Ground to King George V and later to Lagos City Stadium.

It never hosted the final under its present name of Onikan Stadium, a name it adopted after the old structure was pulled down in 1974 and rebuilt by Lateef Jakande’s government in the early 1980s.

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It last hosted the then Challenge Cup in 1972 in an ill-tempered match between Mighty Jets and the then Bendel Insurance. The match ended 2-2 and had to be replayed. It was the last time a national final match was held at the water-front arena.

For the first time, the final was moved to Ibadan at the then Liberty Stadium, now renamed Obafemi Awolowo Stadium. The 1974 final was played at the newly built National Stadium, Lagos where successive editions were held uninterrupted till the 1988 edition which held at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan.

The fifth stadium to host the final match was Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi in 1989. It was in Bauchi that history was made when for the first time in 36 years; a club from the North won the national Cup.

The relatively unknown and young Amodu Shaibu coached BCC Lions to beat a higher rated Iwuanyanwu Nationale 1-0.

The Bauchi stadium went on to host in 1994. Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi was the sixth host in 1992. It hosted again in 2008.

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Sports Village Square recalls that the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna in 1993 became the seventh host. Since then, the arena that was inaugurated on August 2, 1964 hosted again in 1997 and 2003.

The eighth host was Ranchers Bees Stadium in Kaduna in 1998. Ogbemudia Stadium hosted in 2004 as the ninth arena while Liberation Stadium, now renamed Yakubu Gowon Stadium hosted the following year.

The MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta became the 10th stadium to host the then FA Cup in 2006. For the first time, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos hosted the final in 2007 a role it repeatedly played in 2009 and from 2011 to 2016.

The 12th stadium to host the final match was Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano in 2010.

 

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Past National Cup Final Matches Venues

  1. Association Ground, Lagos (Later Lagos City Stadium) 1945 to 1972)
  2. Liberty Stadium, Ibadan (Now Obafemi Awolowo Stadium) 1972 replay.
  3. National Stadium, Lagos. 1974 -1987, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1999-2002.
  4. Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan. 1988.
  5. Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi. 1989, 1994.
  6. Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi. 1992, 2008.
  7. Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna. 1993, 1997, 2003.
  8. Ranchers Bees Stadium, Kaduna. 1998.
  9. Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin. 2004.
  10. Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt (now Yakubu Gowon Stadium). 2005.
  11. Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos. 2007, 2009, 2011 – 2016.
  12. Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano. 2010.
  13. Agege Stadium, Lagos.

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Nigerian Football

Sikiru Alimi is Nigeria’s leading scorer as NPFL’24 strikers net 708 goals in 330 Games

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Sikiru Alimi hits Nigeria Premier League milestone of 50 goals -

Data released by the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) Competitions Unit indicate an average of +2 goals per match after Matchday 33 as a total of 708 goals were recorded in the 330 games so far played by the 20 clubs.

The data has Remo Stars Sikiru Alimi as the leading scorer with 14 goals and Rangers International as the team with the best attack with 49 goals. Bendel Insurance are listed as the side with the least conceded goals having let in 25 in 33 games while Gombe United have conceded the most goals at 61.

A total of 1268 yellow cards have been issued with 43 players sent off.

A further analysis of the records show that teams have won 251 games at home with 25 winning away from home and 79 fixtures ending in a draw. In the home wins, 512 goals were scored while teams have scored 196 goals on the road. Of these, there were 13 own goals.

The season has recorded a total of 85 penalties awarded with 65 successfully converted and 20 missed.

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THE STATS

Total No. of Matches Played: 330

Total No. of Wins: 251

Total No. of Home wins: 226

Total No. of Away Wins: 25

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Total No. of Draws: 79

Total No. of Goals Scored: 708

Average Goals/Match: 2

Total No. of Home Goals: 512

Total No. of Away Goals:196

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Total No.of Penalty Awarded: 85 

Total No. of Penalties Scored: 65

Total No. of Penalties Missed: 20

Total No. of Own Goals: 13

Highest Goal Scorer: Sikiru Alimi of Remo Stars;14 goals.

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Total No. of Yellow Cards:1268

Total No. of  Red Cards: 43 

Top of the Log: Enugu Rangers: 60pts, 49 goals for, 31 against 

Best Attacking Team: Enugu Rangers: 49 goals.

Best Defensive Team: Bendel Insurance 25 goals conceded.

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Worst Defense:Gombe United with 61 goals against.

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Nigerian Football

We are not owing bonuses and allowances, says NFF

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The Nigeria Football Federation has released a refutal that players and officials of the national team are being owed of the money released to the team before the last Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire.

 The NFF issued a press release that the Presidency had, late last year, and following a process supported and personally followed-through by the Minister of Sports John Owan Enoh, released monies to the NFF for payment of outstanding bonuses and allowances of players and officials of the various national teams.

The NFF in its released reported that there was a publication on Monday which a senior administrative official of the Super Eagles described as “tissues of lies” and challenged the writer to come forward with evidence of his claims.

“The report is absolutely false, in every ramification, and we challenge the owner of the website and writer to come forward with proof of the claims. We want him to name the players who spoke to him, because these are all tissues of lies.

“Players and officials of the Super Eagles have been paid for all matches played at the AFCON, yet he claimed the team was paid for only three matches. His outlandish claim of the team being owed for 25 matches is the biggest lie ever concocted by any writer.”

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The writer also falsely claimed that only members of the NFF Board and staff of the Secretariat have been paid their outstanding allowances from the government money.

“This story is a shame. No player of the Super Eagles spoke to the writer. It is all pure fabrication,” a senior player told thenff.com.

Another senior official of the Super Eagles added: “The story is absolute bunkum. People should make an effort to verify whatever they hear from anywhere before going to the press. It is clear that this writer did not even hear anything; he simply brought forth something from his own imagination.”   

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Nigerian Football

Enugu Rangers hold on grimly at the top as Nigerian league gets to home stretch

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Enugu Rangers may have broken loose from the pack following their comprehensive  3-0 victory over Bayelsa United on Sunday.

As if to aid Rangers’ hold of the top position, their closest rivals, Remo Stars who were initially just a point behind fell like  papers blown by the huricane, losing 3-2 to Kwara United. Their loss dealt a big blow on their title aspirations as they are now four points behind Enugu Rangers and had also narrowed their goal difference.

They are now third having been overtaken by Enyimba who have better goal difference even though both are with 56 points.

Shooting Stars who suddenly peaked in the second half of the season are fast pacing up, getting to the fourth position and three points behind Remo Stars.

They were dealt a blow in the added time as Katsina United’s Michael Okoro got an added time goal against to stalemate scores at 2-2.

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Just as Enugu Rangers are at the cusp of the championship, the fates of Gombe United and Heartland appear already decided as the second tier Nigeria National League are already waiting to welcome them next season.

Akwa United may have navigated their ways out of relegation waters following their 2-1 away win over Lobi Stars. Akwa United are now 15th on the log. In Jos, former champions, Plateau and Niger Tornadoes played uninspiring goalless while relegation-troubled Heartland of Owerri spanked Gombe United 3-0 just as Kano Pillars dimmed Doma United 3-1.

All the results:

Sunshine Stars 0-0 Bendel Insurance

Rivers United 4-1 Sporting Lagos

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Lobi Stars 1-2 Akwa United

Kwara United 3-2 Remo Stars

Katsina United 2-2 Shooting Stars

Kano Pillars 3-1 Doma United

Heartland 3-0 Gombe United

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Enugu Rangers 3-0 Bayelsa United

Abia Warriors 0-1 Enyimba

Plateau United 0-0 Niger Tornadoes

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