For the second time in three years, the Teslim Balogun Stadium will host the final of Nigeria’s oldest club competition, the Federation Cup.

The stadium entered the history books as the first to host the newly-introduced Federation Cup, in 2009, and now becomes the first to host two finals of the competition.

SuperSport’com looks at the rising profile of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, in the history of Nigeria’s oldest club competition.

Built by the Lagos State Government and named after the famous striker, Teslim Balogun, who was popularly known by his nickname ‘Thunder,’ the stadium has since earned a place in the history books of the 66-year old competition.

In fact, Thunder Balogun remains one of the greatest Nigerian footballers, who played in the competition that started as the All Nigeria Governor’s Cup, in 1945.

When the famous duo of Enyimba and Heartland (formerly called Iwuanyanwu Nationale) converge on the stadium on Sunday, September 25, it will be a historic event at the stadium, which equally hosted some matches during the 2009 Fifa Under17 World Cup, in Nigeria.

It also played host to the testimonial match of Nigeria’s legendary forward, Nwankwo Kanu.
The stadium has a FIFA Star Two artificial turf and a sitting capacity of 24,325.

Ironically, it lies adjacent to the National Stadium, Surulere, a notable ground that became the tradition home of the defunct Challenge Cup/Coca FA Cup for many years.

Before the National Stadium was built for the 1973 All Africa Games, another famous ground, the Onikan Stadium, then called King George V Stadium hosted several epic finals. Cup action moved to the National Stadium after the All Africa Games were concluded.

Today, the National Stadium has lost the spark that made it the place to be for Nigerian cup stars due to poor management of the facility.

However, it’s the reverse for the Teslim Balogun Stadium that occupies an important position in the heart of Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, who is not just a passionate footballer enthusiast, but also a footballer to the core.

Although it’s not in the magnitude of the Abuja National Stadium that was built for the 2003 All Africa Games hosted by Nigeria, the Teslim Balogun Stadium is the best maintained sports facility in the country.

The 2002 final won by Julius Berger was the last to be staged at the National Stadium.

After Berger’s victory over surprise finalists, Yobe Desert Stars, in 2002, Coca-Cola decided to move the final across the country to underscore its importance as a national competition.

Imo govt wants mass support from indigenes

The Imo State Government has urged all its indigenes resident in Lagos State to turn out en-mass to cheer her darling team, Heartland of Oweeri in Today’s Federation Cup final against Enyimba of Aba billed for the Teslim Balogun Stadium.

In a release signed by Mr. Frank Okafor on behalf of the Senior Special Assistant and Liaison Officer, Nkeiruka Sylvanus, encouraged all the indigenes and friends of the State to troop-out en-mass to the stadium.

The Liaison Officer also informed residents in Lagos that the State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha would be a special Guest during the encounter.

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