…As states to submit reps in 10 days
Following Daily Trust’s report of last Saturday titled ‘Nigeria’s FA Cup fades away as uncertainty hangs over 2021 edition’, the Nigeria Football Federation has risen to its responsibility as it kick-starts plans to organise the tournament.
In view of the June 30 deadline by CAF for countries to submit names of registered players and clubs for continental competitions, there were concerns that Nigeria may not meet up.
This prompted Daily Trust to do a story on how the past glory of the tournament is fast fading away due to NFF’s inability to pay the needed attention to the oldest club competition in Nigeria.
In 2020, the tournament could not hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic but defending champions, Kano Pillars, were registered to represent the country in the Confederation Cup.
The above scenario may be averted this year as the NFF, in a letter dated June 4 but released yesterday, wrote to state football associations to submit a representative each by June 14, 2021 for both the men and women’s categories of the 2021 Aiteo Cup competition.
The Aiteo Cup is a single elimination football knockout tournament that features teams across the 36 states of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“The Organising Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) deliberated on the directives by CAF that all countries should submit,by 30th June 2021, names of teams that will take part in the various CAF competitions for 2021,”NFF said in a statement.
“In view of the above, the committee concluded that all state football associations should produce one (1) representative latest 14th June 2021. Each State should produce their Aiteo Cup Licenses.”
“At the federation level, a uniform license will be produced by the NFF for the national stage of the Aiteo Cup competition. A National Draw will be held at a date to be communicated for the 37 teams that qualify,” the statement added.
The tournament was created in 1945 as the Governor’s Cup and was initially dominated by Lagos teams. Later it was known as the Nigeria FA Cup from (1954–1959), Nigeria Challenge Cup (1960–1998), Coca-Cola FA Cup (1999–2008) and Nigeria Federation Cup (2009–2016).
Since 2017, the competition has been sponsored by AITEO Group and known as AITEO Cup, including the women’s tournament.
Shooting Stars were the most successful club, having won the competition eight times, followed by the defunct Lagos Railways with seven titles, and Enugu Rangers with six.
The 2018/19 season was the 73rd edition of the competition, and Kano Pillars defeated Niger Tornadoes 4–3 on penalties to represent Nigeria in the CAF Confederation Cup in the 2019/2020 season.