Organisers Promise Bigger, Better Tournament As 15th Gafaar Bolowotan Memorial Gold Cup Kicks – Off Tomorrow, December 23

Kunle Adelabu

The 2023 edition of the Gafaar Bolowotan Memorial Gold Cup will kick – off tomorrow, Saturday, December 23, 2023, as the organisers pledged to make this year’s edition the best ever since the tournament commenced in lkorodu, 15 years ago.

The tournament, which is is being sponsored by the Director – General, Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Prince Toyin Gafaar (Bolowotan), is organized annually by a Local Organising Committee (LOC) put in place by the Ikorodu Division Football Association (IDFA).

Like the previous editions, all the matches will be played at the Police Barracks Playing Ground, lgbogbo road, lkorodu, which has become the tournament’s traditional ground.

At the draw ceremony held at the Raggae Lounge, Aga, Ikorodu, on Thursday, the organisers announced that the final match will be played on February 7, 2024, while training bibs were presented to the managers of the 24 participating teams at the event.

The draw ceremony witnessed Ultimate Villa FC, Perfect Touch FC, FC Victory Ones, Unizee FC, Sharon FC and Adosag FC Intl, as being picked as the seeded teams.

Mr Jelili Ogunmuyiwa, FIFA, Technical Director, LOC (2nd left), Coach Abolore, Chairman, LOC (middle), Alhaji Yusuf, chieftain, All Stars, Ikorodu (2nd right), Alhaji Luqman Shonibare, Chairman, IDFA (right) and the anchor of the event (left) picking clubs during the draw at the Raggae Lounge on Wednesday.

Other teams are: Opopo Ona Iwa Mimo FC, Sportelectual FC, Agric Town FC, Ablaze FC, Right to Smile Academy, Macbeth FC, Apalura FC, Eclat FC, Loan FC, Formidable FC, Buqunson FC, Greater height FC, D’hawk FC, Kareem FC, Infinite Football Academy, Amazing United FC, Harmony Bee FC and Deluxe FC.

Also at the draw event, the organisers announced that the sponsor of the tournament will be providing all the participating teams with 20 pieces of training jerseys to be used for trainings and warm – up before their matches. Also, the eight teams that qualify for the Quarter-Finals, will receive a set of jerseys each, while another set of jerseys will be provided for the last four teams that make it into the Semi-finals.

It was also announced that the two finalists will also get a new set of new jerseys each that would be used to play the final match.

Meanwhile, Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC), Coach Abolore Ogunbunmi, commended the sponsor for sustaining the football tradition in Ikorodu, and also thanked the IDFA for the trust reposed in him and members of the LOC saddled with the organization of the 15th edition of the tournament.

He assured the participating teams that they will have reasons to smile.

Mr Kassim Idris (Aloma), member, Ikorodu All Stars (middle) and Mr Dapo, Captain, Igbogbo Beach Soccer team (right) picking teams for the draws. With them, Ademola Ogunlewe, Director of Media, LOC (left), Jelili Ogunmuyiwa, FIFA (2nd right) and others

“Based on our discussion with the organisers, we have made it possible that all teams will smile home”, he said.

Alhaji Luqman Shonibare, Chairman, Ikorodu Division Football Association (IDFA), stated that this year’s edition will be a special one that will linger for a long time in the memories of those that will witness it.

”This is the 15th edition of this tournament which began sometime 2007, and you can imagine the journey. We thank God for the journey so far. The 15th edition will be the biggest of all the editions that have been held so far, and those that would be participating should count themselves lucky to be part of it”, he said.

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“This is going to be a special edition and to do that, we have a very powerful and highly technical team as members of the LOC.

“Since the inception of the tournament, we have never giving out souvenirs to all the participating teams, but this year’s edition is a well packaged one”, Alhaji Shonibare assured.

The IDFA Chairman, who announced that plans have been concluded for live transmission of the tournament and presence of scouts, implored teams and their managers to ensure that they behave on and off the pitch as the LOC is ready to enforce discipline.

Alhaji Luqman Shonibare, Chairman, IDFA introducing the Chairman and members of the 15th Gafaar Bolowotan Gold Cup to the audience.

“We want discipline to be your watchwords. We are begging and any team that is not disciplined will be disciplined accordingly”, he said.

“This year, all the matches will be streamed live on social platforms, and that means any of the players can be lucky to be spotted by scouts and we are doing everything to make sure that at least, five to ten players from this tournament get call up to the NBFL, NFL and leagues abroad.

“In addition, LOC has also concluded arrangements to bring in scouts to watch your matches. If you are a good player but not disciplined, you will be nowhere to be found”, he said.

Shoibare also appreciated the sponsor for his contributions towards the development of football in Ikorodu.

“We want to appreciate the sponsor who is an illustrious son of this town who has supported football to enviable state, and we pray to Almighty Allah to continue to guide, protect and bless him, so that he can continue to do more for football in Ikorodu”, he said.

The representative of the Ikorodu Referee Society, Ref. Isa Afinni, assured the teams that the referees have the interest of the game and players at heart, and will do everything to officiate in accordance with the laws of the game.

He charged them to see referees as friends and not enemies, stating that their performances will be watched by the assessors.

Afinni also charged team managers to ensure that members of their teams get to match venue on time, adding that any team that fails to report on time, will be sanctioned accordingly.

Ref. Jelili Ogunmuyiwa, FIFA, took time to take the gathering through the rules of the Game, explaining them section by section, with emphasis on enforcing the rule to the latter during the tournament.

Dragon Ewulogbo and Ijebu Boy entertained guests at the draw ceremony.

Other LOC members are: Ogunmuyiwa Jelili, FIFA, Director Technical, Yomi Alaba, Logistics, Comrade Monsuru Odenike, Secretary, Prince Ademila Ogunlewe (Oruma), Director of Publicity and Mr Ayeni Ridwanullahi.

Also at the ceremony were: IDFA Ikorodu chieftains – Coach Ganiyat Adepebi, Alhaji Kareem, Alhaji Adeoye Abiodun and Mr Adele Adewale Sulaimon (Secretary). Also, Alhaji Shamsideen Yusuf, chieftain of All Stars Ikorodu and Coach Adeleke Ibiyemi (Pepper), representative of the Ikorodu Coaches Association, among others.

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