This year’s Nigeria Federation Cup women’s final would be played on a different day from that of the men, organizers of the once prestigious tournament have announced.
The competition which is the oldest football tournament in the country got a new sponsor in Aiteo Group on June 28 and is being re-branded by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Chairman of the tournament’s organizing committee, Seyi Akinwunmi said the idea of moving away from having both finals on the same day as has been the tradition, is to sell the women’s game as a huge brand “so that it has a life of its own.”
“In years gone past its seemed as if the female final was an appendage (to the men’s final),” Akinwunmi told BusyBuddies in a phone interview. “This board is a female friendly board so we want to give them their own identity.”
Coca Cola was the last company to sponsor the tournament—a deal that lasted between 1999 and 2008. In those years, the final matches were played in different venues across major Nigerian cities. But Lagos state has hosted every single final in the last five editions since then Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola donated a trophy to the NFF in 2012.
Now, the Aiteo Group have taken over naming rights and sponsorship of the championship, but it is unclear if Lagos will remain as host of the 2017 men’s final at least. The organizers have however reached a conclusion on where the women’s final will be played.
“We’ve fixed the female final to be in Bayelsa,” Akinwunmi, who is also the 1st vice president of the NFF, said. “It’s the male final that hasn’t been fixed yet.”
FC Ifeanyi Ubah and Rivers Angels are current male and female champions of the Federation Cup.
Writer: Chuma Nnoli
You can follow him on Twitter @chumannoli