Former goalkeepers’ trainer laments decline of Nigerian cup competitions

Former national team goalkeepers’ trainer, Amusa Adisa, expressed his disappointment with the current state of cup competitions in Nigeria, particularly the Federation Cup.

Adisa, speaking in Ilorin on Saturday, reminisced about the days when the competition, formerly known as the Challenge Cup and later the FA Cup, held significant prestige. He lamented that over the years, the competition has lost its stature.

Adisa attributed this decline to the excessive focus of Nigerian football fans on foreign clubs, which has diverted attention away from local competitions. He emphasized the need for a renewed emphasis on domestic tournaments to restore their prestige and relevance in Nigerian football.

“Rather, they channel all energies towards everything about European football.”

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The then Green Eagles number one goalkeeper recalled that attendance of matches in Nigeria was massive in the 70s when European football was not yet popular in Africa.

“When a Challenge Cup match was to kick off by 4 p.m., the stadium would have been so full to the extent that fans coming to the stadium by 12 noon won’t even find a place to sit,” he said.

Adisa urged Nigerian football fans to have a change in mentality and support the local league competitions. This will help us restore the lost glamour of the Challenge Cup (now the Federation Cup) and other local competitions,” he said.

Adisa emphasized the importance of Nigerian football fans shifting their mindset and rallying behind local league competitions. He believes that this change in attitude is crucial for reviving the prestige of tournaments like the Challenge Cup, now known as the Federation Cup, and other domestic competitions.

Recalling what he considers the most memorable Challenge Cup match, Adisa pointed to the final game of the 1971 competition. The match featured the then Western Nigeria Development Corporation, WNDC, Football Club of Ibadan, which later became known as IICC Shooting Stars and now 3SC or Shooting Stars FC, facing off against Enugu Rangers FC, which evolved into Rangers International FC of Enugu. These teams represented Western Nigeria and Eastern Nigeria respectively at the time, adding to the historical significance of the match.

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