Leadership (Abuja)

16 March 2008

Nigeria: NFA Fixes April 15, for National Draws

Abuja — Coca Cola, sponsor of the FA challenge cup has agreed terms with the football governing body in the country, the Nigeria Football Association to have the final of the 2008 edition played in Makurdi, Benue State while the FA cup competition will kick start in April with the draws slated to hold in Lagos on April 15, 2008.

The soft drink manufacturing company Leadership Sports learnt wants this years draws to be held in Lagos to enable the company add glamour to the draws considering the new impetus the company wants to add to the sponsorship package after a meeting with NFA where it was agreed that Coca Cola extends the sponsorship fee to include states preliminaries because according to NFA, the states is where the players come from.

The new drive is a mark deviation from the previous editions where Coca Cola's sponsorship begins after the draws have been made.

In a meeting of the two parties last week, it was resolved that the sponsorship package be reviewed in line with modern realities and the fact that the existing sponsorship fee was too meager to cater for the organization of the challenge cup.

Coca Cola however, agreed to extend the package to state as well as review the sponsorship money following the expiration of the contract next year.

Leadership Sports gathered from NFA that top multinational companies are falling on themselves to wrestle the sponsorship out of the grip of Coca Cola who in the past, has not shown capability and expertise in the organization of FA cup competition like what obtains in England and Spain.

Leadership Sports source at the Glass House said a giant company had already shown interest and commitment in sponsoring the FA cup to the tune of N4.4billion that would span accross four years.

Meanwhile, NFA is said to be giving serious consideration to the new company on stand by but would agree with Coca Cola to continue if the package is reasonable enough to accommodate all the conditions that would be required by NFA.

However, all the state FA secretaries and club representatives are being expected at the draws on April 15 in Lagos.

Leadership Sports learnt that before the draws, 20 rookie teams will play elimination out of which 10 would qualify to participate in the draws.

NFA is expected to unilaterally pick the 20 smaller terms out of the 74 teams.

"The 10 rookie teams that emerge after the 20 teams must have played the elimination matches would join the 54 teams to make up 64 that would play in the challenge cup competition."

Leadership Sports investigation reveals that NFA's insistence on reviewing most of the contract entered into by the football House is in line with the new orientation for any competition or team to be self sustaining without dependence on the government.

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