Former champions, Sunshine Stars will battle debutant Ijebu United in a south West derby as the Optima Energy Gold Cup 11th edition kicks off 3pm today Friday, August 11, 2023, at the electrifying Remo Stars International Stadium in Ikenne, Ogun State.
Optima Energy Gold Cup, the nation’s prestigious pre-season tourney avail clubs in the three-tiers of the domestics League- Nigeria Premier Football League, Nigeria National League and Nationwide League One the platform to prepare their squad going into the new season.
Sunshine Stars, Beyond Limits FA, Ijebu United and Hammola FC make up the teams in Group A and will have their matches in Ikenne.
Seventh edition champion in Ilorin, Niger Tornadoes and back-to-back finalist Shooting Stars will be having their hands full in Group B, as they tackle ‘giant killers’ FC Ebedei and Tradesafe FC at the FC Ebedei Stadium in Apele-Sagamu.
General Coordinator of the tourney, Tunde Shamsudeen says anxious Optima Energy Gold Cup fans should expect the best from the teams, who are poised to keep them on their edge of their seats at stadiums and where ever they are live streaming the matches from, with quality football artistry and sublime goals.
“The Optima Energy Gold Cup has over the years proven to be the best platform for clubs to take shape going into the season, and we are proud that we have written history with many clubs, who have gone to becoming NPFL champions, qualified for the CAF Champions League/ Confederation Cup and secured promotion.
“The tourney without bias, give teams in Nigeria’s three-tier leagues equal opportunities to be part of its yearly event, and this year’s edition will be no exception, as we have balanced groupings, with each consisting of teams in the NPFL, NNL and NLO.
“We expect a thriller in the opening game, as it’s a southwest derby between Sunshine Stars and Ijebu United at the Remo Stars International Stadium.”