The date for the Lagos International Football Tournament (LIFT) has been postponed from July to September. The competition, which was earlier billed to hold between July 25 and 28 will now hold September 5 to 8.
The initiator of the pre-season programme and former Super Eagles midfielder, Mutui Adepoju, said on Monday that the change in date was prompted by the upcoming month of Ramadan which takes place between July and August.
“It has become very necessary to postpone the tournament which was earlier scheduled for July 25 to 28 to September 5 through 8 to allow our Muslim brothers in the participating teams observe the month of Ramadan which starts on July 7 and ends August 6.
“We are very sensitive to issue like this, so we have no chance than to respect the rights of our Muslim brothers who are training hard ahead of the tournament,” said Adepoju.
Lagos State Football Association chairman, Seyi Akinwunmi, also explained that the schedule of the Federation Cup also forced the change in the tournament’s date.
The Federation Cup final stages are expected to hold in July at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos and Akinwunmi said the Lagos FA wants to avoid a jammed calendar next month.
“Apart from the fact that the Ramadan is coming up in the month of July, the Federation Cup is also coming at the same period, with Lagos State as the host of the two tournaments,” Akinwumi said.
We definitely have to re-schedule one of the events. So after a meeting of all stakeholders, it was unanimously agreed that the best period after July is to target the FIFA Free Week, which runs from September 6th to 10th.
The tournament, which will hold annually, starts with four clubs drawn in a knock out format. The clubs due to grace the maiden edition are Glo Nigeria Premier League champions, Kano Pillars, Asante Kotoko of Ghana, RCD Espanyol of Spain and Ismaily of Egypt.