Having been able to secure sponsorship for the nations federation cup which has become AITEO Cup, the Nigeria Football Federation is leaving no stone unturned as it has issued a stern warning to all officials who would be assigned for matches of the 2017 AITEO Cup competition which begins on Wednesday to perform creditably or have their names permanently struck off the list of arbiters in the country.
AITEO, one of Nigeria’s foremost in the energy sector secured the naming right for Nigeria’s oldest football competition.
Speaking after his committee’s meeting in Abuja on Monday, Chairman of the NFF Referees Committee, Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf Fresh told the federation’s official website that any referee found wanting would not only be thrown out of the vocation but could also face prosecution.
“The NFF Referees Committee has decided to go tough on erring referees. For several years, we worked very hard to try and get sponsors for the oldest football competition in this country, but could not for one reason or the other. Now that we have one in AITEO, we will do everything humanly possible to guard that relationship jealously.
“Any referee found to be involved in any shenanigan, or deemed to be outright incompetent or mischievous, will be summarily dealt with. We are tired of complaints about referees. We are ready to throw out as many as are found culpable, and will be ready to have only few competent and self –respecting persons take charge of matches,” Fresh stated on Monday.
The NFF Executive Committee member also informed thenff.com that only Nigeria’s FIFA –badged (international) and elite referees would be handed shifts in the AITEO Cup competition beginning from Wednesday.
“Only the FIFA referees and elite referees would be involved. No National League or Nationwide League officials. We want the best arbiters available to take care of the matches and give credibility to the competition.
“The glamour of this much –loved competition must return in full force and in even greater glory.”
It is worthy to note that the new AITEO Cup has something to offer to winners in the men’s and women’s categories will be going home with about NGN25 million and NGN10 million respectively. The runner up in the men’s competition will take home NGN10 million, while the runner up in the women’s event will go home with NGN5 million.
Meanwhile, the Organizing Committee of the AITEO Cup has empathized with players and officials of Akwa United FC of Uyo, who were involved in a road mishap on the Umuahia-Enugu road on Monday, on their way to Hadejia for a Round of 64 clash with Halfa FC of Jigawa.
“We want to sympathize with the Akwa United delegation involved in the mishap on their way to Jigawa State. As a result of this, we have resolved to move their match against Halfa FC to Thursday,” NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, who is also secretary of the Committee, told thenff.com.
Also on Monday, the organizers moved the clash between Bayelsa United FC and FC Zamfara, earlier slated for Port Harcourt, to Nembe Stadium, just as the match between Ngwa FC of Ebonyi and FC Galadima of Kebbi will now hold at the Abakaliki Township Stadium. Organizers passed the two stadia fit to host the matches, which will come up on Wednesday.
The clash between Yobe Desert Stars and Kano Pillars will now take place in Damaturu on Thursday, 24th August.
FIRST ROUND MATCHES & VENUES OF AITEO CUP
NGWA FC (Ebonyi) VS FC GALADIMA (Kebbi) – Abakaliki Township Stadium (4pm)
HEARTLAND FC (Imo) VS INSURANCE FC (Edo) – Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri (4pm)
LOBI STARS (Benue) VS KATSINA UNITED (Katsina) – Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi (4pm)
KATSINA UNITED FEEDERS (Katsina) VS AKLOSENDI FC (Nasarawa) – Muhammadu Dikko Stadium, Katsina (4pm)
AITEL FC (Taraba) VS UNICEM ROVERS (Cross River) – Jalingo Township Stadium (4pm)
MIGHTY JETS FC (Plateau) VS SUNSHINE STARS (Ondo) – Rwang Pam Stadium (4pm)
BAYELSA UNITED (Bayelsa) VS FC ZAMFARA (Zamfara) – Nembe Stadium (4pm)
ADAMAWA UNITED (Adamawa) VS CYNOSURE FC (Rivers) – Fufure Township Stadium (4pm)
EDE UNITED (Osun) VS SAKABA UNITED FC (Kebbi) – Oshogbo Township Stadium (2pm)
FC IFEANYI UBAH FEEDERS (Anambra) VS JIGAWA GOLDEN STARS (Jigawa) – FC IfeanyiUbah Stadium, Nnewi-Ozubulu (4pm)
SAMBA KURNA (Kano) VS WIKKI TOURISTS FEEDERS (Bauchi) – Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano (4pm)
EKITI UNITED (Ekiti) VS DOLPHINS FC (Kaduna) – Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado-Ekiti (4pm)
NIGER TORNADOES (Niger) VS EL-KANEMI WARRIORS (Borno) – Confluence Stadium, Lokoja (4pm on Thursday, 17th August)
RIVERS UNITED (Rivers) VS FC ATETE (Delta) – Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt (4pm)
DELTA WARRIORS (Delta) VS AYADE BABES (Cross River) – Warri City Stadium (4pm)
FC YARMA LIGHT (Gombe) VS FC IFEANYIUBAH (Anambra) – Patami Stadium, Gombe (4pm)
HALFA FC (Jigawa) VS AKWA UNITED FC (Akwa Ibom) – Hadejia Township Stadium (4pm on Thursday, 17th August)
SHOOTING STARS (Oyo) VS DYNAMITE FC (Edo) – Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan (4pm)
KOGI UNITED (Kogi) VS RANGERS INTERNATIONAL (Enugu) – Confluence Stadium, Lokoja (4pm)
NASARAWA UNITED (Nasarawa) VS MFM FC (Lagos) – Lafia City Stadium (4pm)
NIGER TORNADOES FEEDERS (Niger) VS FC ABUJA (FCT) – Confluence Stadium, Lokoja (2pm on Thursday, 17th August)
DOMA UNITED (Gombe) VS ADAMAWA UNITED (Adamawa) – Patami Stadium, Gombe (2pm)
OSUN UNITED (Osun) VS COAL CITY YOUTHS (Enugu) – Oshogbo Township Stadium (4pm)
FC LOKOJA (Kogi) VS EL-KANEMI BABES (Borno) – Confluence Stadium, Lokoja (2pm)
KWARA UNITED (Kwara) VS SOKOTO UNITED (Sokoto) – Kwara Sports Stadium (2pm)
WIKKI TOURISTS (Bauchi) VS PLATEAU UNITED (Plateau) – Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi (4pm)
ABS FC (Kwara) VS ENYIMBA FC (Abia) – Kwara Sports Stadium (4pm)
YOBE DESERT STARS (Yobe) VS KANO PILLARS (Kano) – Damaturu Township Stadium (4pmon Thursday, 24th August)
ABIA WARRIORS FC (Abia) VS CROWN FC (Oyo) – Umuahia Township Stadium (4pm)
FRSC FC (FCT) VS POTISKUM ACADEMY (Yobe) – Area 3 Stadium, Abuja (2pm)
ALMAR (Ogun) VS SPARTAN FC (Lagos) – Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu-Ode (4pm)
MOYERO FC (Ondo) VS AKWA STARLETS (Akwa Ibom) – Akure Township Stadium (4pm)
* Matches to take place on Wednesday, 16th August 2017