Eleven football clubs are set to jostle for honour at this yearâ€™s annual Zonal Pre-season Football Tournament scheduled to hold between December 3 and December 8.
The Chairman, South West Football forum, Seyi Akinwunmi, who also doubles as the first vice president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), confirmed yesterday that the competition will serve as a platform for clubs playing in the league to assess their teams.
” The regional tournament could serve as an appraisal for the team on their preparedness for the new season. That is, the tournament is aimed at giving the clubs campaigning in the league a veritable platform to assess their team before the commencement of the league,” he said
He also said that the regional championships will provide a synergy for football developmental programmes among the south west clubs. ”It is also an avenue for the discovery of young players in the South West Zone,” he remarked.
Some of participating teams include; MFM FC of Lagos, Sunshine Stars of Akure, Remo Stars of Sagamu, Crown FC of Ogbomosho and Spartan FC of Lagos.
Akinwunmi said that the organisers were satisfied with the level of preparedness of the teams that had registered for the tournament.
“We are satisfied with the level of preparation for the tournament and we will only hope their performance in the pre-season event will serve as a positive tonic when the season proper gets underway soon.
“The last edition affords various teams the opportunity to assess their team in terms of performance and technicalities.
“Those that performed well in the championships last year can see their effect in their campaign during the league season because they can assess the players, he pointed out.
Akinwunmi assured that the tournament would keep improving in terms of organisation and coordination.
“What we are assuring is that the competition will continue to get better as the time comes by. The mistakes noticed in the previous edition will be corrected in the next.
“By next year, we hope to see more clubs interested in the tournament,” he said.
The Secretary of the forum, Akin Akinbobola, said that not only the teams and players would enjoy the benefit of assessing themselves, but also the referees.
“The opportunity of assessment is not only for the teams, but also the referees and match officials getting them ready for the new league season.
“The teams that will be participating are drawn from the Premier League, National League and a state representative from Ekiti.
Akinbobola said that part of the gains of the tournament would be a technical assessment reports to be given by some experts in the league system to strengthen the clubs participating in the tournament.
“Parts of the gain include a technical report that will be given by the technical committee headed by Taiwo Ogunjobi who will give a holistic approach to the teams.
“They will be assessed in their areas of strength and weakness and advice on where they needed to consolidate and improve top have a successful outing in their campaign.
“We are also giving the team opportunity to know what to expect from other teams and if there are more lapses, there would be another tournament to assess them.
“The tournament would probably hold a month to the commencement of the new league season,â€™â€™ he said.
The first edition of the tournament held in 2016 at Onikan Stadium was won by Gateway FC of Abeokuta.