Ilaji Football Club will be playing today with Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan in the state 2023 Federation Cup final at the Lekan Salami Stadium.
Established by industrialist and Ibadan Mogaji, Dotun Sanusi, Ilaji FC had mauled Oyo Alaafin United 4-1 in the semifinal of the tournament played on Tuesday.
Salem Adeyemi scored hat trick with Favour Adegbite scoring one to help Ilaji booked the final tie with with 3SC. Shittu Taiwo however scored the consolation goal for Oyo Alaafin team.
In the second semifinal, 3SC proved their superiority as they walloped Iseyin Rocks FC with a sounding four goals without response from the Iseyin Boys. 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 one goal each in the 77th and 92nd minutes to put Shooting Stars through a comfortable semifinal win.
The semifinal results means the two finalists, 3SC and Ilaji FC will represent Oyo State at this year’s national Federation Cup.
Speaking about the growth of club, Sanusi explained that he was elated to see the club progressing. He narrated how their idea is to gather the raw talents in Nigeria, nurture them in the best way possible before getting contracts in European football.
Ilaji have already other partnerships with clubs from Czechia, 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 have already made the move in Abdullah Busari and Temitope Ojo Abraham, 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 to have a chance of playing in the Old Continent is to have them enhance their knowledge about how the game is played in Europe.
This is where Swieqi United’s role come into play as their collaboration idea 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 Marko Glumac, Academy Head Coach, took centre stage in this workshop which was attended by Ilaji FC coaches and guests.