MTN Nigeria and Flykite Productions have announced the 12 clubs that will participate in the inaugural edition of the NAIJA Super 8 off-season club football tournament. With two teams from each of the country’s six geopolitical zones, these clubs will compete in zonal playoffs, mentored by a former Nigerian international. The top six teams will be joined by two wildcard entries in the Super 8 finals, which will hold at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos from Friday, July 7 to Sunday, July 16, 2023.
The 12 clubs participating in the NAIJA Super 8 zonal playoffs were unveiled on Friday, May 26, 2023, at the Multichoice Studios in Lagos. Rivers United, the current Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions, will face Bendel Insurance in the south-south zonal playoff. Enyimba FC of Aba will face Heartland FC of Owerri in the South East geopolitical zone, while Shooting Stars (3SC) will face Remo Stars in the South West geopolitical zone. City FC of Abuja and Lobi Stars of Makurdi will compete in the North Central playoffs. Finally, Kano Pillars and Katsina United will compete for the North West position, while Yobe Stars and Gombe United will compete for the North East geopolitical zone.
The teams will compete in the zonal play-offs, which will take 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.
This off-season football tournament is part of MTN Nigeria’s ongoing commitment to promote and invest in the development of Nigerian football. It promises to thrill fans and showcases the exceptional talent of Nigerian footballers and ensure that Nigerian footballers receive local and international exposure, as well as capacity building.
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.
In addition to the thrilling on-field action, the NAIJA Super 8 football tournament will include a variety of engaging activities for fans and spectators, including halftime entertainment and interactive fan zones.