By Muhyideen Jimoh
Paul Edeh, organiser of the Flying Officer’s Cup, a women’s tournament, says that the 2021 edition would be more glamorous as teams from Ghana and Benin Republic are set to participate in the competition.
Edeh, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ratel Sports Foundation, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday, in Abuja, that no fewer than 16 professional women’s clubs would be participating in this year’s edition.
NAN reports that the Flying Officer’s Cup is a pre-season women’s tournament named in memory of late Nigeria Air Force (NAF) officer Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, who died on July 14, 2020 in Kaduna.
Edeh said this year’s competition, which is the third edition, had been packaged with increased prize monies for winners and increased priority to teams’ welfare as part of its organisation.
He also explained that part of the unique package of the 2021 edition would be awards to some deserving outstanding Nigerians.
The football administrator said the competition had received the endorsement of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) with a special commendation letter from the management of the Nigeria Women Football League (NWPL).
“This year’s event has many firsts: the price money has been increased from what it used to be and we are going to be having four teams winning the ultimate price of the first, second, third and fourth places.
“The other first is that we have 16 teams that have already indicated interest to participate, which is double of what we had last year.
“Last year, we had eight teams that participated but this year, we have 16 teams already.
“The most interesting part with this year’s edition is that we have two teams from Ghana and Benin Republic that have also indicated interest to participate,” he said.
Edeh said that some well meaning Nigerians, who had contributed to the development of female football will also be honoured at the tournament.
“We have also introduced a new leg which is the award segment of the Flying Officer Cup.
“We have decided to pick some well meaning Nigerians that have contributed immensely to the development of female football, as well as the girl child, to give them awards, he said.
According to him, the prize money for the winners had also been jerked up. “The winner of the competition will get N1 million, second price goes for N500, 000, third is N300, 000, while the fourth placed team will receive N200, 000, that is excluding branded jerseys.
“For those that are participating from outside Nigeria, we are ready to double their price money if they finish in any of the positions.
“This is to also give them a certain leverage to win the competition, because they have to travel longer distance to be able to make it, ” he added.
Edeh called on public spirited Nigerians and corporate bodies to rally round and support the competition and by extension, the development of female football in the country.
NAN reports that some of the clubs slated to participate in the tournament include NWPL winners Rivers Angels, Bayelsa Queens, Edo Queens, Nasarawa Amazons, Delta Queens and newly promoted Naija Ratels.
The tournament is scheduled to kick-off from Oct.10 to Oct. 24 in Abuja, at the FIFA Goal project in the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Area 3, play ground and Aguiyi Ironsi military cantonment stadium. (NAN)