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FEDERATION’S CUP: Absence of glamour worry stakeholders as Kwara United, ABS face off in final




As Kwara United and ABS, both professional football clubs take on each other later this Saturday afternoon in the state Federations Cup final, not a few soccer buff, ex international and other stakeholders wonder where all the thrills, frills and glamour of the soccer challenge has gone.


Kwara United, a premier League club in Nigeria is taking on ABS- Abubakar Bukola Saraki, campaigning in the lower tier, the NNL.


No fixture could have been more predictable especially in Kwara where, none of the professional clubsides paid the N120, 000 mandatory registration fee to be part of the competition.


They complained that the fee was too much.


But the state FA stood its ground, saying that professional football is business and not charity.


But what is not in question is that the quality of football challenge in the prestigious Federation Cup has been lowered.


Amusa Adisa (pictured), former Super Eagles coach who, himself, is a Federations Cup hero in his days with IICC Shooting Stars (now 3SC), utterly chagrined at the turn of event.


“The competition has lost its glamour,” he lamented.


“In those days when a Challenge Cup (Federations Cup) match was to kickstart by 4pm, the stadium would have been so full to the extent that fans coming to watch by 12pm won’t find a place to sit,” he said.


He added that fans no longer show commitment and enough support to clubs within Nigeria.


Rather, they channel all energies towards European football.

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Coach Amosa blamed the development on over concentration of fans on the foreign clubs as against the local club sides.


Corroborating Adisa, retired broadcaster and Olympian, Hameed Adio who has over three decades of running commentary on soccer, wonders if those days of glamour would return to Nigerian football.


“Those were the days when for example our own Alyuf Salam Rocks FC of Ilorin met Rangers International of Enugu at the popular Onikan stadium at the challenge cup final in Lagos.


“And guess what, football fans left Ilorin in the middle of the night to arrive Lagos early in the morning on match day to be joined by Kwarans resident in Lagos to fill up half of the stands before Lagosians came into the stadium.


“The aura surrounding the challenge cup in those days was so enchanting, exciting and magnetic while we also had on display no nonsense, disciplined and uncompromising match officials.


“Can we ever see a return to those days,” he wonders.


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