Two top sides in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs, Enugu Rangers and Enyimba have been named alongside 14 other African clubs to participate in a post-COVID-19 fundraising tournament.
The world football governing body chose the top 16 teams in the continent based on popularity for the tournament, which would also be replicated in other continents.
Other teams in the tourney include Esperance of Tunisia, Al Ahly of Egypt, Kaiser Chiefs of South Africa, TP Mazembe of Congo DR and Accra Hearts of Oak of Ghana, Zamalek of Egypt, Orlando Pirates of South Africa, Kampala City Club (KCC) of Uganda, Zesco United of Zambia, El Merreikh of Sudan, Gor Mahia of Kenya, AS Vita of Congo, Raja Casablanca and Wydad, both of Morocco.
The tournament, will hold on a home and away format and the money realised will be managed by FIFA, who will, in turn, reward each club or representatives during an award to the Champions at its inauguration of the inter-club tournament in the Hall of Heroes in Zurich, Switzerland.
Both teams through their media officers, Norbert Okolie(Rangers) and Tonnex Chukwu(Eyimba) for the Peoples’ Elephant have expressed their delight at being picked and called it a great honour to represent Nigeria. They are now eagerly awaiting FIFA’s directives for the event.
This might still be weeks or even months away as FIFA has made it explicitly clear that the tournament would hold only ‘when it is safe for fans to return to the stadium,’ to participate in the competition.
In any case, it’s a win-win situation for both African football, fans and players as well as the beneficiaries of the funds who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.