Students of the FCB Escola soccer school arrives for a training session at Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, on November 22, 2016. Football is king in Nigeria, even though the country has again failed to reach the Cup of African Nations finals which will be held in Gabon in January. More than 1,500 youngsters took skills tests in September to get into the Barcelona academy. But the 1,000 euros ($1,000) annual cost was an even bigger hurdle for many. The FCB Escola in Lagos, is a centre for youth development and grassroot empowerment modelled after FC Barcelonaís youth system, where football is used as a medium of empowerment to teach FC Barcelona Soccer methodology. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
Lagos – As Lagos State is set to enjoy another round of beautiful football artistry from the Lagos State Federation Cup (FA Cup), the rookie teams has promised tough duels with the big teams during the competition.
The teams, mostly non-league playing, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the FA Cup draw on Thursday, said that they would be ready for a showdown.
Lagos FA Cup draw was held at the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) secretariat, National Stadium, Surulere.
The draw had 86 teams that would vie for the two slots to represent the state at the national level of the oldest cup competition later in the year.
Soji Olawoye, Chief Coach of Hertta Football Club, Mushin, said that his team had nothing to lose playing the big teams, hence they would play their hearts out against them.
“We have nothing to lose against these big teams; they are the ones under pressure and not us. Our players are ready to spring surprises during the tournament.
“We have done it before by beating a top team during the competition, so i am not expecting anything less from them,’’ he said.
Coach Andy Udoh of FC Bethel, Surulere, said that his team had been in the tournament since 2002 which should have been an experience for his team to learn from.
“Playing since 2002 is an experience that is worthwhile, coming to the 2019 edition will be a different thing entirely because we are more ready to go.
“We played through the quarter finals of the FA Cup last year against all odds, so we hope to improve on the achievement of last year.
“We now have the quality players that are ready to cause upset to any team; we want to do more,’’ he said.
Atlas FC Coach, Adedeji Da-Silva, said that his team would not rest on its oars, adding that it would aim at surpassing the previous match played during the competition.
“We will not rest on our oars, this year; my team is trying to put things together to surpass where we are eliminated last year.
“My team is ready to showcase its talent against the big boys at Agege Stadium because we are not intimidated by them, we have a target to win,’’ he said.
The Smart City Coach, Timi Kamaldeen, said that the team would aim at winning the 2019 edition having emerged as runners up in last year’s competition.
“No team can be so tag as underdogs because they also came with a plan. We are the runners up for last year’s edition and I want to believe that we can win it this year.
“We have players that can do it and we also believe in them,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Lagos FA Cup will kick off at Agege Stadium on March 30 with Grace Sports Channel set to face TNT Super Warriors at 8 a.m.
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