By Olanrewaju Akojede
Lagos – The General Coordinator, Gold Cup Pre-Season Tournament, Tunde Shamsudeen, on Wednesday praised Lagos based Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM) FC and Enyimba International of Aba for securing continental competitions ticket.
The congratulatory message by the competition’s organisers’ spokesman, Olawale Quadri, appreciated the clubs’ achievements in the just-concluded Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lagos-based MFM and Enyimba International of Aba finished second and third respectively in the 2016/2017 NPFL.
Both team also picked up the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup tickets respectively.
The statement said: “The Olukoya Boys did it in style as they cemented their second spot on the NPFL log following an impressive 2-0 victory over Nasarawa United on Match Day 37, which was their last at home.
“Enyimba, seven times NPFL kings almost leapfrogged MFM to the spot but for a comeback from a goal down by Rangers International FC in the last Oriental Derby.
“The win at the Cathedral, saw the Aba Elephants stay third on the log,’’ it said.
It added that the General Coordinator, Shamsudeen, praised the efforts and doggedness of both MFM and Enyimba, saying that he hoped to see them excel in the continental campaign.
“I’m delighted at the feat MFM FC made, just after two seasons in the topflight, they are now a force to reckon with in the NPFL and the continent elite inter club championship.
“This didn’t just come easy as it was hard work and dedication from the technical crew led by Fidelis Ilechukwu, a.k.a. “Working One’’, players and management of the club too.
“MFM FC is a team that escaped the drop on the final day of the 2015/2016 season, but I must say that Gold Cup Pre-season tourney played a vital role in preparing them and Enyimba for the season that ended last week.
“They were runners-up, after losing on penalties to Lobi Stars in the final game in Ijebu-Ode, but as the season began and progressed, they blended as a team,’’ it quoted Shamsudeen as saying.
The statement said: “MFM gave Plateau United a tough chase for the title, as it was the results from Match Day 38 that decided who the new NPFL champion is.
“Enyimba is a complete new team headed by a new technical adviser, Gbenga Ogunbote.
“The former Giwa FC of Jos coach was given a new task of rebranding an Aba Elephant team that have lost its winning formula as they ended the previous season without a trophy.
“I can confidently say the Gold Cup exposed Enyimba’s strengths and weaknesses to Ogunbote. We crave for a better outing for MFM and Enyimba when the Champions League and Confederation Cup campaign kicks off.
“However, I want to urge both club to take part in the next edition of the country’s most prestigious pre-season championship for domestic clubs.
“This will enable them to get their old and new players in shape for the upcoming season. I also share in the pains with Remo Stars who got relegated to the lower division just after a season,’’ it said.
The 5th edition of the most glamorous pre-season competition, sponsored by Sen. Abdulfatai Buhari, will be staged in Ilorin, Kwara or Ibadan, Oyo State.
Foremost betting company, Bet9ja, Nigeria’s leading sportswear firm, “Cone’’, Naija League Magazine, Tribeca Code, Phoenix ASC, and Matchroom are the tournaments partners. (NAN)