Dear Lagos Rains,
Compliment of the season to you. You have been in fine form so far, even if your major season is done for the year. We respect your choice to wet at will the inhabitants of Lagos and how you make us change our plans at your wish. We hail thee.
On Sunday, the 2017 edition of the oldest football competition in Nigeria comes to an end and the finals will be within thy domain at the Agege Stadium. Two past winners will have a go at themselves to determine who takes Nigeria’s 4th continental slot of the season. Akwa United, champions in 2015, look like the favourite but Niger Tornadoes who defeated defender Champions FC IfeanyiUbah in the semifinals will hope to add to their title in 2000.
Irrespective of who is deemed favourite, we pray for a favourite weather condition on Sunday evening so we can have a good final. We know it is not of thy making that a 4000 capacity stadium was chosen to host the final of the AITEO Cup – as it is now called – but we know what your presence can do. We want the good view of a packed stadium, irrespective of the capacity. The last two finals were played at the ~24,000 capacity Teslim Balagun stadium and we failed to fill it up. It looked scanty. We have the chance now. Don’t mess it up for us. The organizers will be happy to have a filled stadium on TV. What if Agege Stadium is not filled on Sunday? Sorry, not for you.
You didn’t rain in the 2016 final, or in 2015. We still remember that a 15 mins light shower could turn the Soccer Temple – nickname of the Agege Stadium – to a swimming pool with futile attempts to mop or clear the water from the pitch.
It is a neutral ground for both teams and there will be a lot of neutrals in the stands watching. We would love them to go happy with the better team winning the day void of poor officiating. I digress, that is not part of your jurisdiction. Or can you help with that? More importantly, we wouldn’t want the fans to miss a “next-day” 8am kick off. You know the grill.
Most importantly, we have tried to facelift the Agege Stadium – sacrificing some seats for a better arrangement for high dignitaries. We have our new CAF president in country who will watch the final. Your tears or sneeze will not be good for us. It will not be good for MFM FC who will hope to use the stadium as their home ground for the CAF Champions League. This is an opportunity to prove to the CAF President that Agege can do it, pending when MFM FC get their own stadium. When will they?
So my beloved rain, water the crops, water the farm lands, but don’t fall in Agege. No, I mean “Don’t even sneeze”. We have a final to watch today.