Champions Remo Stars will begin its title defense in a Southwest derby against Sunshine Stars, as the organizers of the Optima Energy Gold Cup released the groupings and fixtures at the weekend.
The 10th edition of Nigeria’s prestigious preseason tournament kicks off from 22nd September to 1st October (Independence Day) at the Remo Stars Stadium in Ikenne and FC Ebedei Stadium in Sagamu.
Group A is regarded as a ‘group of death as it’s made up of three former champions, Remo Stars, Niger Tornadoes, and Sunshine Stars.
Debutants Sporting Lagos and Mavlon FC will be having their hands full against the Nigeria Professional Football League(NPFL) trio in blockbuster fixtures at the Remo Stars Stadium in Ikenne.
Former Optima Energy Gold Cup runner-ups, Gombe United, and Shooting Stars lead Group B alongside Ekiti United, and ‘giant killers’ FC Ebedei and Beyond Limits. Their matches will be hosted at the FC Ebedei Stadium in Sagamu.
The opening Matchday One matches for Thursday are 8 am Group A and B fixtures involving Sporting Lagos versus Niger Tornadoes and Shooting Stars up against Beyond Limits.
Seven hours later, at 3 pm, it will be a ‘Battle of Stars’ as Remo Stars take on Sunshine Stars, while the game between Gombe United and FC Ebedei is the official opening ceremony match.
The four matches, two from both groups will be .ed daily at the Remo Stars Stadium and FC Ebedei Stadium.
It will be five days of 20 interesting group matches, as the Optima Energy Gold Cup organizers have also fixed September 27 and 30 as rest days.
After observing the first day of rest, action resumes 24 hours later; as the two top teams from the groups will slug it out with the runner-ups, in the first and second semifinal games billed for Remo Stars Stadium and FC Ebedei Stadium on September 28 and 29th.
It will be a classic finale at the Remo Stars Stadium in Ikenne, as the champion of the Optima Energy Gold Cup 10th edition, will emerge on Nigeria’s 62nd Independence Day anniversary.