By: Habeeb Abdul
Students at the University of Ibadan are no strangers to the sounds of cheers on football fields. If you frequently conduct business at the Faculty of Arts or squirrel away in the upper recesses of the Kenneth Dike Library, random football meetups and training exercises cannot be novel sights. However, on Wednesday, the 23rd of November, the Students’ Union will kickstart a broad, department-level football tournament known as the SEALS Cup.
The competition itself is not new to the university’s pitches; what is, according to a statement by the committee head of the competition, Marvelous Ezeala, is the number of departments participating in the 2022 edition. He states that the event now includes 32 teams as opposed to 16 in previous tournaments.
The word “SEALS” is an acronym for its founding faculties — Science, Education, Arts, Law, and the Social Sciences. When asked about the competition, Olawale Joshua Babatunde, the SU Sports Secretary stated that the Students’ Union had negotiated a transfer of organizing rights with the original creator, Samuel Adediran. This, secured on a promise of expansion, was the reason behind the enlargement to 32 teams. The participants were selected on a first-come, first-serve basis.
How the Tournament Works
The competition, which is scheduled to run for a period of three weeks, was open for registration on 7, November. It is slated to close on Monday, the 21st. Draws commence at 4 PM the same day. Intending participants join the rank of competitors with a registration fee of fifteen thousand naira. The best is awarded a grand prize of a hundred thousand plus medals; the second fifty thousand and medals; while the third go home with twenty thousand naira and medals. In the minutes of a meeting which was purportedly held by the organizing committee and seen by Indy Press, Awo Stadium and the SUB sports complex were cited as the intended locations for the tournament.
The said document also mentioned the probable division of the competition into a group stage with one match. This culminates into eight matches which subsequently wind up into two, effectively determining the closing gladiators. Matches will run from Mondays to Fridays, with a day between matches for players to rest.
The responsibility for providing medics is shared by organizers and teams alike, as the Union will engage Red Cross personnel in fulfillment of its part. Other regulations for the event include the mandatory nature of full team jerseys, the presence of campus security officials, the duration of matches — 30 minutes of gameplay and 15 minutes half-time — and actions that would lead to a player’s suspension from matches. The winning teams from the SEALS Cup and the Hall Cup will confront each other at a Super Cup. The event was preceded is expected to see the participation of various stakeholders on campus other than the football teams.