The highly anticipated 2023 Lagos City Cup organised by Ikorodu City FC and their Spanish partners, FC Barcelona and Atletic Sant Just FC will begin today.
The tournament was officially opened at a press conference held at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos on Friday, 30th June,2023.
As expected, Spanish scouts Pep Palacios and Moussa Kone of Atletic Sant Just FC and FC Barcelona were in attendance as well as Sola Aiyepeku, Lagos State Sports Commission Chairman; Fuad Oki, Lagos State Football Association Chairman and his Vice Chairman, Liameed Gafar; and Sanmi Doherty, Convener and Vice-President of Ikorodu City FC.
Speaking at the event, the Lagos State Sports Commission Chairman, Sola Aiyepeku, said the whole idea was to provide a platform for young talents in Lagos to showcase themselves. “It is important that now we have been able to provide the opportunity for them come to Lagos and showcase themselves and hopefully they get to the next level”, he said.
The Convener of the tournament, Sanmi Doherty, emphasized on the importance of building bridges and just leveraging on the relationship with the partners and giving opportunities to the players.
“We want to see the players enjoy themselves for the next four days. I’m hoping that we can have a few of them go back to Spain with us and see if they can become professional players in Europe”, Project Adviser, Bernat Villa said.
President of partner-club, Atletic Sant Just, Pep Palacios, spoke about the relationship between the club and Ikorodu City and the openness in him to further strengthen it. “Nigerian players have a lot of skills, strength and are improving steadily and that’s why we are open to receiving more of them in our club and probably get them through to FC Barcelona”, he said.
“The aim is to develop these players. To make them better players and persons which is why they have started from the grassroots to search for them and I believe they can develop the Barcelona way”, Moussa Kone, head of scouting for FC Barcelona in Spain. He however also states that lack of proper structure and administration is the bane of African Football.
The Chairman of the Lagos State FA, Fuad Oki, however pledged his support to Atletic Sant Just FC and tasked the club with setting up a feeders teams here in Lagos. “The FA and the Sports Commission will do everything for you to make Lagos your home. We will want to see an Atletic Sant Just feeder team in Lagos and that is why we have sanctioned this tournament”, he said as he declared the games open.
The tournament will be held between 1st July to 4th July at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena from 8am daily. Entry is free and indomie will serve dishes to hundreds of fans at the games throughout.