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2. ORIGINS OF THE COMPETITION 1904–1945

Ed Emeka Keazor Bright Pen ePub

The bare feet of Justin Onwudiwe, UK Tourists 1949

One of the most difficult questions facing football historians has been the exact origin of the game in Nigeria. There have been many theories put forward by experts, most of them plausible and based on very sound premises, but unfortunately none of them has conclusively answered the question, where and when was football first played in Nigeria?

There are two main schools of thought, which for the ease of reference will be described here as the Lagos and Calabar schools. You will find that this definition is almost literal. We will start with:

a. The Lagos School Frederick Baron Mulford

One dominant theory is that the game of football was first introduced into Nigeria, via Lagos, at the end of the 19th century, by British servicemen, expatriate civil servants, itinerant sailors and traders, who would organise themselves into informal teams for matches. As Peter Alegi confirms in African Soccerscapes, football grew pretty much anywhere Europeans were settled. However, there is no available documentation of any of these matches, not surprisingly, given they were reputedly informal events.

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1. INTRODUCTION

Ed Emeka Keazor Bright Pen ePub

The Federation Cup has had a long and varied lifespan, pre-dating the very existence of Nigeria as a nation. For football fans and many others, it symbolises one of the strongest, enduring rallying points in the countrys sporting history.

The competition has as its main hallmarks its longevity and its consistency since its inception 67 years ago. The only year the event was not held, was 1973 and that was deliberate because it clashed with the epochal All-Africa Games of that year. Otherwise, this competition has endured the changing tides of Nigerian history even braving the turbulence of the political crisis of 1966 and, more significantly, the Nigerian Civil War of 19671970.

By its very nature, the Cup is an inspiring symbol of the endurance and durability of Nigerian nationhood through all manner of circumstances. The competition in our view celebrates not only the prowess and pride of the teams competing on the pitch, but also Nigerias football heritage a heritage which is manifested in the many achievements of our club and national teams over the years. The same heritage of which this competition has for 67 years, been the quiet bedrock.

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6. COMPETITION FACTS AND STATISTICS 1945–2011

Ed Emeka Keazor Bright Pen ePub

We shall now examine some facts and statistics, underlying the competition over the last 66 years of its existence. These statistics have been based on final matches, due to the dearth of complete records during the various qualifying rounds over the years. Whilst some Football associations- especially Lagos, have fairly comprehensive data, the same could not be said of all and the need for uniformity has thus guided the focus on final matches, which are at least reliable.

The analysis of goals statistics has been restricted to goals scored in finals and has not included goals scored in the qualification rounds.

19451959

There were 55 goals scored in the finals in this period. The distribution is as follows:

Teams

Goals

1. Railways XI

2. Port Harcourt Red Devils

13

3. Pan Bank-

6

4. Marine

4

5. UAC XI

3

6. Calabar XI

3

7. Warri

2

8. Plateau

2

9. Kano Pillars

2

10. Dynamos

1

11. Zaria

1

Total

55

The record for the highest margin of goals scored in any final in the FA Cup was shared in this period by two matches Port Harcourt Red Devils v Federal United 1958 (60) and Pan Bank XI v Warri XI 1952 (60). The record for the highest scoreline/margin in FA cup history was for a match in the qualifying rounds Port Harcourt Red Devils v Ikot Ekpene 180, 1958 preliminary rounds; the next was Ibadan v Ekiti 170. These stand as the overall highest scores/margins in FA Cup history.

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4. THE CHALLENGE CUP/COCA COLA FA CUP 1960–2008

Ed Emeka Keazor Bright Pen ePub

Nigeria gained its independence in 1960 and with that came a new sense of national identity. Nigeria had its own flag now, its own Government (albeit with the Queen as Head of State for a further three years). The mood of the country was optimistic and vibrant.

1960 was the year that quite a few other African countries also gained their independence. As was, and probably is still, customary, there were celebratory matches commemorating independence in various countries. Nigeria celebrated the event by inviting the Black Stars of Ghana for a friendly match although a different result would have been preferable (Nigeria lost 30).

There was a strongly nationalistic atmosphere, with the country taking its seat at the United Nations. There was also a deliberate and quite proper in my view Nigerianisation of administrative structures in the civil service and other institutions. Football administration was not left out. As far back as 1955, Alex Quist had been the first Nigerian to head the NFA and in I959, Mr O. Ogunmuyiwa (a magistrate), took over from Quist. In 1960, Mr Ogunmuyiwa handed responsibility over to Nigerias first post-independence NFA Chairman- Mr Godfrey K.J. Amachree QC, a well- respected lawyer and administrator.

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8. EPILOGUE

Ed Emeka Keazor Bright Pen ePub

This book has, as seen sought to travel through the history of Nigerias oldest sporting competition.

It is important to point out that it is an impossible task to properly capture the full history and magic of this competition in one medium alone, whether print or electronic.

It is equally impossible in practical terms, because of the dearth of information available for crucial parts of the competitions history. The process of gathering information to complete this work has necessitated travel not just around Nigeria but around Europe, where many of the necessary records can be found.

This, as said at the beginning, is an on-going process and this will not be the last edition of this work. In conclusion it shall be necessary to pay tribute to two important groups of stake-holders crucial to the survival of the institution that is the Federation Cup.

The 2012 Federation Cup will repeat the energy and vibrancy of past years, the main difference between this years competition and those of previous years, being that in the digital age, matches are more accessible to the public at home and abroad- progress indeed. However, the effect of this coupled with other societal factors- has been a reduction in the size of crowds at matches, which I hope will change with time, because ever since 1945 and before, fans have been the bedrock of the competition.

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