The first Naija Super 8 off-season club football event will feature eight football clubs battling it out for glory at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos.
Rivers United, Enyimba, Remo Stars, Lobi Stars, Katsina United, and Yobe Stars are the participating teams. Wild card entries will be used to fill the final two spots.
The Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos will host the competition organized by MTN Nigeria and Flykite Productions from Friday, July 7 to Sunday, July 16, 2023.
It will be noted that two teams from each of the country’s six geopolitical zones competed in zonal playoffs where Enyimba International pipped Heartland of Owerri in the southeast conference playoffs while Yobe Desert Stars defeated Gombe United 2-1 in the northeast conference playoffs.
Also, Rivers United outwitted Bendel Insurance 3-2 in the Naija Super 8 south- south playoffs while Katsina United qualified following a 1-0 victory over Kano Pillars in the north-west conference playoff.
Similarly, Lobi Stars of Makurdi defeated City FC of Abuja to clinch the north central conference ticket while Remo Stars defeated Shooting Stars 3-0 in the South West playoffs.
The teams competed in the zonal play-offs, which took place from Friday, June 23 to Sunday, June 25 at Eket Township Stadium in Akwa Ibom State.
For the eventual Naija Super 8 clubs, experienced Nigerian footballers such as Tijani Babangida, Mutiu Adepoju, Ike Shorunmu, Jonathan Akpoborie, Garba Lawal, Victor Ikpeba, Victor Ezeji, and Julius Aghahowa will serve as mentors.
Naija Super 8 is an off-season football competition conceived as an intervention to bring excitement back to the domestic game and engender fresh emotional investments by fans to propel the sport to higher heights in the country.
Adia Sowho, Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria, said, “We are thrilled to launch the Naija Super 8 tournament, as it represents our dedication to empowering talented footballers and fostering the growth of football. We believe in the power of sports to unite communities and inspire future generations. We are confident that this tournament will contribute to the advancement of developmental football across the country and abroad. We look forward to witnessing the passion, skills, and sportsmanship on display during the tournament.”
Jenkins Alumona, Chief Executive Officer, Flykite Productions, described the partnership with MTN Nigeria to launch NAIJA Super 8 as an indication of its commitment to driving the return of fans to match venues and supporting the Nigeria Football Federation’s efforts at revitalizing the game.
“This partnership is evidence of MTN Nigeria’s desire to assist in rekindling fans’ appetite for domestic football by having fans, the lifeblood of the game, return to our stadiums as well as supporting the ongoing efforts of the Nigeria Football Federation to revive the game and take it to higher heights,” Alumona said.