*As Yusuf Fresh pledges support
Organisers of Gold Cup pre-season tournament have concluded plans to stage the fifth edition of Nigeria’s most glamorous pre-season tourney in Ilorin, Kwara State capital.
Lobi Stars Football Club of Makurdi are defending champions after they defeated Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry (MFM FC) 5-4 on penalties in the final in Ijebu-Ode last season.
MFM FC of Lagos and Enyimba International Football Club of Aba participated in the last edition of the tourney in Ijebu-Ode, the two teams had a successful campaign in the recently concluded Nigeria Professional Football League season (NPFL) and they will be flying the Nigerian flag in 2017/18 CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup respectively.
10 clubs in the NPFL, Nigeria National League and Nationwide League One, have signified their interest to take part in the most elaborate and prestigious tourney, as its a platform to prepare for the new season.
General Coordinator of the club tourney, Tunde Shamsudeen disclosed that “Ilorin is the new host of the Gold Cup pre-season tournament, as Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State has been host of the past editions.
“We are glad that the State of Harmony has agreed to host reason being that we want to have different states host the tournament over time. This is the first time the tourney is played outside Ijebu-Ode.
“You would agree with me that Ilorin is a good choice as its fans are passionate, keen followers of our three tier leagues,”
Meanwhile, the Chairman NFF Referees Appointment Committee and member CAF Technical Committee, Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf Fresh (Sardauna Kwallow Najeriya), has vowed to support this year’s event.
Fresh said “as the only well organised and elaborate pre-season tourney in the country, this really inspired me to support the organisers.
“MFM and Enyimba, played the last tourney and they’re able to pick continental tickets and the smooth run of Niger Tornadoes FC of Minna in the Aiteo Cup is also a added plus for the tournament,” the astute football administrator concluded.
The pre-season tournament is sponsored by distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic, Dr. Abdulfatai Buhari, alongside foremost betting company, Bet9ja, Nigeria leading sportswear firm, ‘Cone’, Naija League Magazine, Tribeca Code, Phoenix ASC and Matchroom.