By Akeem Busari
The global lockdown on sports and other socio-economic activities occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic is being gradually eased around the world, particularly, with football, making a return to some countries.
In this vein, football teams in Ekiti State are gradually warming up to return to action once football resumes in Nigeria. And towards its planned football activities, the FA board held an e- meeting for the month of May, where it constituted a management board for the state football league.
Named as the Bet9ja Ekiti Football League (BEFL), the board is made up of Olaifa Temitope as Chairman, Adebayo Oluwadamilare and Adewale Raji Rasheed as members. While Ayodeji Ogunsakin and Boluwaji Idowu, would serve as Adviser and Secretary of the board respectively.
Meanwhile, many of the teams that participated in last year’s Bet9ja Ekiti State Football League, have declared their readiness to do football business once again and participate in the 2020 edition of the Ekiti State league sponsored by Nigeria’s leading betting company, Bet9ja.
While speaking on their expectations of this year’s edition, some coaches and officials expressed optimism that football would return in the state, like other parts of the world. Adding that when that happens, they would be willing to return to full action, particularly, in the Ekiti State Football League.
Segun Oke, Chairman of Bridgewaters football club, remarked that though the lockdown is really affecting the football world, like others, he would be ready to get back to business after the lockdown. He was also quick to laud the efforts of the Ekiti FA for holding a successful and first ever football league in the state.
” Last year’s edition of the league which was also the first, was a good one. We must applaud the efforts of state FA. And I believe that with concerted efforts, we can get it right in the state,” he stated.
Coaches Adeola and Bola Idris representing Kola Babes and Phoenix ASC respectively opined that the state football league has the potentials to be bigger and better.
On how to make the competition better, Chief Coach Musibau Oyelere of Ikole United, while commending Ekiti FA, was quick to admonish the organizers to to ensure the standard of officiating in the competition.
On his part, Idris advised that the organizers should do away with the home and away format of the league. According to him, such arrangements were responsible for the few skirmishes that were witnessed at the last edition.
He opined that the teams can be pooled into groups and with matches played at neutral grounds. He added that this system would ensure fair play, discipline, competitiveness and improved standard and followership.
Twenty teams have indicated interests to participate in the competition. And they include defending champions Soccer Academy, Igede, runners up Moyero fc, third place winners, Ifaki United fc.
Others are Phoenix ASC, Ajibade FC, Bridgewaters FC, Ekiti East United FC, EKSU Galaticos, Ifaki United F.C, Ifishin Dev. FC, Ijero United FC, Ikere United F.C, Ikole United FC, Kola Babes FC, Petemmal Int. FA and United FC, Ile-Ona, Kola Babes FC and Gbosa FC.