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The second zonal qualifier will commence on Friday at the Enugu Ranger training pitch with lots of excitement awaiting lovers of grassroots football

After thrilling fans in Makurdi, capital of Benue State, the Gulder 5 A-Side Football action continues this weekend. The South Eastern zonal qualifying matches have been scheduled for Friday, May 4 through Sunday, May 6.

The games, which will take place at the Rangers Training Pitch, Enugu, will see the aspiring teams slugging it out for the two tickets to the national finals in Lagos.

Already, Supremes FC of Gboko and Gidan Bege FC of Makurdi, emerged as the two qualifying teams from the north central zone. They edged out several other clubs in scintillating football matches that attracted a large crowd of football enthusiasts that converged on the Abu King Shulluwa Playing Ground, Makurdi.

Speaking on the competition, Ita Bassey, Senior Brand Manager – Gulder, Nigerian Breweries Plc, expressed optimism that the competition at the south eastern qualifiers would be stiff.

“Drawing from the high level of football we witnessed at the recently concluded qualifying matches in Makurdi, I anticipate high level quality display of skills by the players in the South East. Teams turned out in large numbers to register. They will have the chance to prove their mettle when the competition kicks off this Friday at the Rangers’ Training Pitch, Enugu,” said Bassey.

Bassey urged the players to put in their best at the tournament trials. “While Gulder Five Aside Football competition is a platform to showcase players’ talents, there may be a few scouts looking out for talent. The lucky players will be the utmost beneficiaries. The unique thing about Gulder Five Aside is that it gives the teeming football enthusiasts from the grass roots an opportunity to showcase their skills and display their talents. The quality of talents that we have been able to unearth since the competition began three years ago is really amazing. This opportunity does not come every day so you can understand the optimism of the participants.”

The three day soccer fiesta will feature teams from Enugu and other neighbouring states competing for the two slots to the next round in Lagos.

After Enugu, the action will move to the Liberation Staduim, Port-Harcourt, for the South-South leg of the competition from May 11-13, Oleh Township Staduim, Oleh, Delta State will be the venue for the Mid-West zone qualifiers from May 18 to 20.

The Western zonal qualifiers will take place at the Ijebu Ode Stadium training pitch, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, from May 25 to 27, while the qualifiers will wrap up at the New Gymnasium of the National Institute for Sports (NIS), located inside the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, from June 1-3.

Twelve teams will be selected in total, for the national finals that will take place from June 14 – 17 in Lagos. All the 12 qualifying teams will be kitted by Gulder and the winning team will receive five million naira prize money.