July, 17 2023.
The Soap Opera or novel idea called the Naija Super 8 which kicked off in Lagos on (Friday) July 7th at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, in Onikan Lagos, came to a rousing conclusion on Sunday with Sporting Lagos FC crowned champions of the inaugural edition, after beating Remo Stars of Ikenne 4-2 on penalties.
The final had been deadlocked at 1-1 at the end of regulation time, with Remo Stars needing a last gasp goal, in stoppage time to make it 1-1, after Sporting Lagos took the lead in the 52nd minute.
The stadium which was filled with an unprecedented number of Lagos fans, and fans at the adjoining streets of the MJ Arena in Onikan, erupted into wild jubilation as Sporting Lagos clinched the N25 million prize money, by holding their nerves in the shootout to inflict a second defeat in one week against Remo Stars, who they had beaten 2-1 during the group phase.
Remarkably, Sporting FC was one of the two sides given a wild-card by the Organisers of the tournament, with the other wild-card awarded to Akwa United of Uyo.
As at when Sporting FC were given the wild-card, they were still a Nigerian National League (NNL) side, but they eventually secured promotion to the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) via the NNL Promotional Play-offs, staged in Asaba, Delta State.
From Asaba, they hopped back to Lagos for the Naira-spinning private sector-driven tournament, which also featured Katsina United, Lobi Stars of Makurdi, NPFL Champions Enyimba of Aba, Vice-Champions Rivers United and the only other NNL side, Yobe Desert Stars of Damaturu.
It is worthy of note that both finalists, are based in the South-West and are privately owned franchises that have done a lot at both the NPFL Super 6 and NNL Super 8, to showcase the present best of Nigerian football on Cable Satellite television.
Aside good soccer artistry that kept fans at the edge of their seats for almost the entire second half on Sunday, both finalists also showed how well organized and professional their teams are www.ckdmedia.ng reports.
The players will now proceed to very short breaks, to reconvene ahead of the start of the 2023/24 Season on August 26th, when Sporting FC will make their NPFL debut, while the Sky Blues from Ikenne-Remo will look to mount a credible challenge for the title, which Enyimba FC won, by virtue of superior goals difference.