LAGOS INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT: Could This Be the Coolest Pre-Season Destination In The World?

Inspired by the way pre-season tournament in Asia and America attract top flight European teams, Nigeria’s ex-international midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju, conceived the idea of staging similar tournament in Nigeria. As soon as Lagos State government bought the idea, they decided to name it: Lagos International Football Tournament (LIFT).

LIFT plan to grow its brand reputation to become the coolest pre-season tournament and destination in the world. Wahid Oshodi, Lagos state commissioner for sports said.” We’re very optimistic of the future. Lagos state is the home of football in Nigeria and LIFT will surely get all the brand reputation it requires.” “As we all know, anything Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola, is involved grows in leaps and bounds and LIFT is just one of them.”

Mutiu Adepoju
 Adepoju, popularly known as headmaster, who is the initiator of the tournament said: “LIFT is aimed at creating a platform that would attract top flight teams to Nigeria during pre-season. It is also aimed at exposing these foreign teams to the vast football talents in Africa.”

Imagine teams like Manchester United , Barcelona, Bayern Munich match up with Kano Pillar, Enyimba, Enugu Rangers or some African Teams like Esperance, Asec Mimosa, Accra Oak, Coton Sports… in a pre season Tournament. It’ll be a complete sell out in a city like Lagos.

In Lagos, Clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Barcelona… have such a large fan base. With a fairly cool tropical sunshine between July and August, something similar to summer. It’s a good time to enjoy beach football, at the various resorts in the city. Schools are usually on holiday and lots of youngsters travel down to the city to seek fun. This event may just be it, in this football crazy country.

The tournament which was scheduled for July is now ready to kick off from September 5th – 8th at Teslim Balogun stadium. it’s expected that invited teams, Asanti Kotoko of Ghana, Al Alhy of Egypt, then Kano Pillars and the host team, Eko All stars, Will be competing in the maiden edition.

Chairman, Lagos State football Association, Seyi Akinwumi said, “The delay was good for the tournament. We want to get the organization right at the first time because we ‘re serious at building a world class brand for LIFT. With what we are putting in place now, in term of partnership and Logistics, we sincerely hope to see the participation of top European teams in the near future. He further said.”All the teams that will be participating in the maiden edition, Asanti Kotoko, Al Alhy, Kano Pillars and Eko All stars, have all confirmed that they will be at the tournament.

Despite the optimism expressed by the organizers, some sports commentators like Alex Opone, still have some reservations about the annual tournament. He said, “Security concern in Nigeria and the fact that Lagos is known for fans hooliganism may hinder the interest and participation of most foreign teams. Moreover, the lack of proper scheduling and execution of fixtures in Nigerian league may also hinder the full participation of our local club sides. As we all know, Nigerian league doesn’t follow world football calendar and the league may still be on during European pre –season.

Well,  these are some of the things the organizers has taken into consideration.

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