NFF Mums On 2021 Aiteo Cup Competition
….. I am Not Allowed To Divulge Any Information To Media – NFF Official In Charge of The Competition
By Niyi Busari
Aiteo Cup, the single elimination knockout tournament that features 74 teams from 36 states including the FCT may not hold for the second consecutive years, BSNSports.com.ng report.
According to the competition format, the state qualifications that produce winners and runners-up for national knockout stages suppose to hold between April and May across all 36 states and FCT, but, till second week in May, the organiser (NFF) has not communicated to any state on the qualification.
Even the NFF official in charge of the competition don’t know whether or not it will hold this year.
Fred Onaji, NFF official in charge of Aiteo Cup when speaking with BSN Sports directed our correspondence to the General Secretary of the NFF, Sanusi Mohammed adding that he’s not allowed to talk to anyone on the competition.
“Who gave you my number? Onaji asked rhetorically.
“I am not in position to answer any question from any media man. Please, ask the General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi or our media officer, Demola Olajire. I am not allowed to divulge any information except through him.” He told BSN Sports.
Speaking with the Secretary of a state Football Association who is in charge of the tournament, but asked for anonymity said. “We have not heard anything from the NFF. Normally states present their winners and runners-up between April and May and up till now no one talk to me as the Secretary of the State FA.
Another state FA secretary corroborated saying: “From the way it is, I don’t think Aiteo Cup will hold this year because there was a deadline from CAF that Member Associations must submit the name of clubs for the CAF Inter-Club competitions on June 30th and in May we have not started the state qualifications. In fact, no one has talked to us about it. May be they will ask us to present state champions in the last competition in 2018 to meet in a venue for a winner to emerge.
Meanwhile, a reliable source told BSN Sports that Aiteo Group, the sponsor of the competition has paid the sponsorship deal for the year 2021 in March.
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 the AITEO group and has been known as the AITEO Cup including the women’s tournament.
Shooting Stars are the most successful clubs, having won the competition eight times, followed by the defunct Lagos Railways with 7 titles and Enugu Rangers with six titles.
The 2018/19 Nigerian Federation Cup was the 73rd edition of the competition. Kano Pillars defeated Niger Tornadoes 4–3 on penalties to represent Nigeria in the CAF Confederation Cup in 2019/2020 season.