Ilaji Football Club will on Thursday play against Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan in the state’s 2023 Federation Cup final.
Established by industrialist and Ibadan Mogaji, Dotun Sanusi, Ilaji FC mauled Oyo Alaafin United 4-1 in the semifinal of the tournament on Tuesday.
Salem Adeyemi scored a hat trick, while Favour Adegbite scored the other goal to help Ilaji booked the final spot against 3SC. Shittu Taiwo scored the consolation goal for Oyo Alaafin team.
In the second semi final, 3SC proved their superiority as they walloped Iseyin Rocks FC by four goals to nothing.
Sikiru Alimi , who just returned from injury layoff announced his comeback with two goals in the 13th and 27th minutes, while Joshua Akpan and Opeoluwa Olufemi scored the two other goals in the 77th and 92nd minutes to give the Oluyole Warriors a comfortable victory.
The semifinal results means the two finalists, 3SC and Ilaji FC will represent Oyo State at this year’s national Federation Cup.
Speaking, Sanusi said he was elated to see the club progressing. He said the idea behind setting up the club is to gather the raw talents in Nigeria, nurture them in the best possible way before getting contracts for them with European teams.
Ilaji FC already have partnerships with clubs in Czech Republic, Norway, Finland and Germany to name a few.
Swieqi United is another club on their books with whom they are confident that their project can be a win-win situation for both parties.
For Swieqi, this is an opportunity to tap into the Nigerian market to bring talented players into their ranks.
A couple of players, Abdullah Busari and Temitope Ojo Abraham, have already made the move, with the latter plying his trade at Pietà Hotspurs in the Premier League this season.
Sanusi explained that their modern facilities, which include a school, hotel rooms, gym and football pitches, allow their pupils to hone their football skills in a professional manner.
For him, the next step for these players is to have a chance of playing on the European continent so as to enhance their knowledge about how the game is played in Europe.
This is where Swieqi United’s role comes into play as the collaboration is to help Ilaji FC’s players to learn football the European way, according to Swieqi’s philosophy.
The Maltese side are fully committed in reaping the fruits from this partnership, having also organised a coaching seminar in Nigeria earlier this year.
Swieqi United’s Technical Director, Billy Mock, and Academy Head Coach, Marko Glumactook centre stage in this workshop which was attended by Ilaji FC coaches and guests.
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