..Said It ended on a blaze of glory
By Akeem Busari
Sheer spectacle, unending excitements, glamour and electrifying atmosphere aptly describes the grand finale of the maiden edition of the Naija Super 8 soccer championship that ended Sunday, at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos.
Lagos football fans and indeed, stakeholders, confessed that they have not enjoyed top quality football as produced by Flykite Productions, the organisers of the epochal Naija Super 8 championship, in the last two decades.
Beginning with the playoffs that featured 12 teams drawn from the six-geopolitical regions of the country, to the Super 8 that included two wild card entries, the championahip, which was tipped for a great success by the press and football aficionados, lived up to the billings.
What with matches that were exciting and keenly contested, just as the final match between eventual champions Sporting Lagos and Remo Stars, was an end-to-end affair, that had the delirious soccer fans on the edges of their seats throughout the game.
Football fans and stakeholders were effusive in praises for the organisers of the championship. Speaking with Nigeria Sports Centre, Football Director of ABS Football Club, Ilorin, Chief Alloy Chukwuemeka, said the quality and standard of the games were, ‘superb and commendable’.
The renowned football administrator remarked that the championship gives the teams the opportunity to prepare for both the league and continental championships. Adding that it was a grand soccer fiesta and the first of its kind.
National Chairman of Nigeria and Africa’s foremost football fans group, the Nigeria Football Supporters Club(NFSC), Ambassador (Rev). Samuel Ikpea, who led the world famous band of the NFSC, to support and cheer the teams throughout the championship, waxed lyrically about the soccer fiesta, which he described as the needed tonic and elixir for the rebirth of football in Nigeria.
“The organisers proved to be real professionals and with adroit organisational skills. It was a near-perfect football fiesta. A sweet mix of football and music, played on a beautiful and television friendly soccer pitch. It was a top notch football showpiece. That’s the kind of football tournaments that would help return the past glory of our football.
“Let me join recall the emotional refrain, that yes, ‘football is back home’. Thank you Flykite Productions and the partners. Thank you NFF and thank you, too, Lagos State Government,” he remarked.
Ex-Super Eagles star player Mutiu Adepoju remarked that the tournament was fantastic. Calling it, a game changer.
“From the beginning, it was a fan base tournament. It’s one of its kind.”
“The huge crowd at the final reminded me of the days when the stadia in Nigeria, used to be filled to the brim. Fans would have already filled up the stadium by 11am before a 4pm kick-off. I tell you, Naija Super 8 was a huge success.
“I want to congratulate Flykite Productions and its partners like Multichoice, SuperSport, Hero Beer, MTN and others. Naija Super 8, was another opportunity for soccer fans to enjoy beautiful football from the local teams.
“I advise the football fans to take such opportunities to return to the stadiums to start supporting their favourite local team. And I assure you, Nigeria football, shall be great again,” Adepoju, who was one of the ex-footballers attached to the eight teams in the tournament as mentors, added.