It will be an action-packed 10 days, as the best of football clubs cut across the three tiers of Nigeria’s domestic league will give anxious fans many to cheer, as the 10th edition of the Optima Energy Gold Cup kicks off on Thursday in Ikenne and Sagamu in Ogun State.
The Optima Energy Gold Cup, which is the flagship of all preseason tourneys in Nigeria will run from 22nd September to October 1st.
Four Nigerian Professional Football League(NPFL) sides Niger Tornadoes, Shooting Stars, Sunshine Stars, Gombe United and defending champions Remo Stars will set the pace for other teams as they try out their best legs for the tournament.
Sporting Lagos who are making their debut, were the early birds after they communicated their arrival to the Optima Energy LOC from their camp base in Ijebu-Ode on Tuesday.
Newly-promoted Nigeria National League side FC Ebedei, Gateway FC, Beyond Limits and Hammola FC of Osogbo are tagged the ‘giant killers’, as they are expected to give the top teams a good run in the tourney.
Optima Energy Gold Cup General Coordinator, Tunde Shamsudeen: “After more than a month of planning, we are delighted that our historic 10th edition kicks off with interesting fixtures at the two host venues, Remo Stars Stadium in Ikenne and FC Ebedei Stadium in Sagamu.
“The three divisions of the Nigerian domestics leagues are all represented with five (5) from the NPFL, three (3) in the NNL and two (2) from the Nationwide League One (NLO).
“The Optima Energy Gold Cup has proven to be the best platform for clubs to prepare adequately going into the season, as we have three teams, Sporting Lagos, Gateway FC and Hammola FC that will be making their debut.
“A few unique factors about the Optima Energy Gold Cup is the successes records at the end of the season by the participating teams. The tourney is known to have prepared teams that have gone ahead to win the NPFL title, picked a CAF inter-club ticket or earned a promotion ticket.
“Another, no team is favoured, it’s on record that irrespective of the host venue, no defending champion has successfully defended the title.
“Above all, it’s a platform that has created job opportunities for our football talents as we expect nothing less than 500 players sweating it out as they seek to better their careers.
“However, fans should once again, enjoy the best of our domestic football as we wish all teams a good and injury-free outing.”