As the Round of 64 of the Aiteo Cup begins on Saturday across 32 centers in Nigeria, ten Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs have been granted a chance to play continental football according to the schedule provided by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
During the just finished 2021–2022 season, the clubs had been unsuccessful in obtaining a continental ticket.
They are Kwara United, Rangers International, Nasarawa United, Abia Warriors, Enyimba, and Sunshine Stars.
Others are Niger Tornadoes, Lobi Stars, Gombe United and Akwa United.
It should be noted that Rivers United, who won the league, and runners-up Plateau United will represent Nigeria in the CAF Champions League next season, while Remo Stars, who finished third, will compete in the CAF Confederations Cup.
The eventual champions of the AITEO Cup will take the second ticket to the Confederations Cup.
However, these nine teams will compete for the spot against 54 other teams, including teams from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), such Rivers United, Plateau United, and Remo Stars, and the Nigeria National League (NNL), like recently demoted teams Katsina United and Kano Pillars.
This season, the competition began with 17 NPFL teams, as well as 26 NNL teams, 15 NLO teams, and 15 non-league clubs.
The competition was won by Bayelsa United of Yenagoa, a Nigeria National League (NNL) team.
Enyimba International will battle Ijebu United in Benin while Dreams FC slug it out with Niger Tornadoes in Enugu.
In Kaduna, ABS FC and Lobi Stars will face each other while Rangers Int’l and ABJ FC will play at FIFA Goal Project in Abuja.
Sunshine Stars will take on Osun United in Ikenne as Aba will play host to Essien Ayi and Akwa United.
Rovers FC will be up against Gombe United in Makurdi just as Yobe Desert Stars and Kwara United in Kaduna
Warri will welcome Ottasolo FC and Abia Warriors while Eaglets FC and Nasarawa United will square off at the ABS Kaduna.
In the same vein, given their current standing, the defending champions Bayelsa Queens of Yenagoa will continue to be the favorites to win the women’s championship.
But Rivers Angels of Port Harcourt will aim to follow in the footsteps of their state-owned rivals Rivers United.
The Cup competition can provide a path to national prominence for the Edo Queens of Benin, the Delta Queens of Asaba, and the Nasarawa Amazons of Lafia.
In the men’s tournament, qualifiers will move on to the Round of 32 while the women’s competition will move to Round of 16.