“AITEO Group has acquired the Naming Rights of the Federation Cup as an extension to their sponsorship with the NFF as part of the rights of AITEO had under the original agreement. The duration of this aspect of the sponsorship is a five-year period, similar to the main agreement on a cost value agreement commencing from the 2017 season.”
Those were the words contained in the NFF statement released shortly after the pronouncement of the energy company as the new sponsors of the nation’s oldest football competition in 2017.
A year into the five-year sponsorship deal, we are not sure if the deal is true; as it seems there is nothing of such [sponsorship] or a mere farce? The advent of the so-called sponsorship hasn’t even been felt whatsoever. One would have expected that the competition this year would have suffered some vital amelioration; nay it is some wonderful declension that is unfolding right before our eyes.
— Engineer Kowope (@Undisputed_Jsam) September 28, 2018
Alas, what we have seen in this year’s edition has been a total disappointment. Words can’t even describe the hugger-mugger, shambolic and lack of proper planning from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in organising Nigeria’s foremost cup competition. It is quite amusing that the NFF through the office of Mr. Emmanuel Adesanya [the competition’s head] have decided not to take the requisite actions even after the league was abruptly concluded.
Dear Mr @PinnickAmaju, what sort of AITEO Cup are you running this year? Less than 48 hours to the start of group stage and no information on fixtures, no updates, no hype, visibility, NOTHING!
This is not it o
— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) September 22, 2018
All in a bid to have some fair officiating, cup games are being played on neutral grounds [as always] as the administrators don’t even trust their referees from doing their jobs. But then, the home-must-win syndrome will remain for a long time as this is in a way looking like the NFF are running from the problem and not addressing it though we have seen some considerable level of fair officiating so far this year.
Moreover, this kind of format [playing at neutral grounds by both teams] inconvenience the teams and that’s the more reason why we have had some games decided by walk-overs [despite having a sponsor] with teams deciding not to honour games due to the distance, the lack of proper communication and cost of playing such games – as not all the teams are financially buoyant.
The idea of the group phase format this year is even the most bizarre decision in recent years. This isn’t in anyway helping the competition gain the necessary feel amongst the fans. A home and away format could have been adopted as it will surely ensure the increase in attendance since fans could not see the Nigeria Professional Football League come to a regular conclusion.
It is indeed baffling that the administrators could not devise a means of making up for the fans losses.
One club caught up in this disorganised tournament are Enyimba. How can Nigeria’s sole surviving representative on the continent be asked to play three matches in three days in far away in Gombe – about 1018.8km from Aba, when the People’s Elephant should have been preparing for their semi-final first leg clash against Raja Casablanca?
Also teams like Kogi United – fined N1.5million and should be serving a two-year ban for the fracas that occurred last year, have participated in this year’s Aiteo Cup.
Do we have a football governing body that enforces rules at all?
To everyone’s surprise, the branding and publicity of this year’s tournament has been woeful. The people in charge have simply forgotten their jobs and those capable have not been brought in to do what is right and proper. The teams are playing with their respective league kits – which is wrong. NPFL balls are been used for a competition that supposedly has a sponsor – which begs the question once again, do we really have a sponsor or is it the NFF that is not working?
One would begin to wonder if the sponsorship deal signed with the NFF as regards the cup competition is true or a sham.
Having a sponsor in a system that doesn’t work hardly changes anything. A cup competition that is the oldest in Nigeria should be the talk of the town once it commences. If it can’t have the needed publicity and coverage that will get fans excited and engaged, it is better if the tournament doesn’t happen at all.
What good is it putting resources in a competition that isn’t bringing any visible rewards after all?
What are your thoughts on this year’s Aiteo Cup? Do share in the comment box below.
Follow Samuel on Twitter: @Undisputed_Jsam
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