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Beyond Limit wins 2024 Evolution Cup

Posted : 20 February 2024

Ikenne-based side Beyond Limit pipped Star Builders FA 1-0 to emerge champions of the 2024 Evolution Cup at Remo Stars Stadium, Ikenne, Ogun State, on Sunday. Adejimi Peter’s 40th-minute strike separated both sides after 90 minutes, despite the gallant display from Star Builders.


Star Builders searched for the equaliser in the second half, but their efforts proved abortive. A red card to their goalkeeper before the end of the match for a bad tackle outside the box compounded their woes.


The proud captain of Beyond Limit, who was also voted as the most valuable player of the tournament, Biliayaminu Abdullahi, was on cloud nine after lifting the title.


“I felt incredible to be able to captain this side; an incredible team to represent this club is an honour.


"it hasn’t been easy. There were a lot of challenges during the game. We had to stay focused and look at the task ahead.


“It is a great tournament for the younger boys on the team. It is a great platform for the players to implement what we learned in training and take it to the next level.


“Growing up, it has always been a dream to play at the elite level, and the dream hasn’t ended. Every day I keep working and hoping that I get to the high level.”


Olatoye Olawale, Project Strategist, Evolution Cup, spoke on the motives behind the tournament.


"Sincerely, it has been a very challenging one. We looked at it and found that there is no tournament that is always preparing teams for the third tier in Nigeria, which is the Nationwide League.


''We came about it and felt we needed to engage them before the commencement of the season, and we need something that will be more competitive, not just playing but preparing amongst colleagues and the community (bringing them together).


''We can engage them, and that can make them perform well.


“It is a tournament that can accommodate a few NLO teams, but as much as we can, we cut across all the geo-political zones, and that is why we have teams from Delta, as far as Jos, and also Southwest and Southeast, but we hope to always have different teams at every tournament.


“Positive because they know Nigeria has a lot of talents. If you have to track back to the 1990s, From 1989 to the 1990s up to about 2000, we knew the level of our football was globally.


''Even in 1994, at some point, we were placed fifth in the FIFA ranking globally, but now it is like it is going down, so we are just trying to use this tournament to be able to raise talents, and the European scouts have been positive.


''They have seen talents and know that Nigeria has a lot, and hopefully, in the near future, we can get to see these talents play. First, let me say thumbs up to those who have really supported us, our colleagues, and our families.


''They have really tried. This is the second edition. We hope that there will not be national issues again that might affect us, but when you are talking about sustainability, we want to make it global in the near future.

''Evolution Cup is not just for Nigeria. We want to make it an African football club tournament and be able to reduce the level of player transfers. We will do our best. We would reach out and talk to people.”


Sulaimon Adebayo (Pooja), the Evolution Cup ambassador, echoed the same views about the competition.


“It’s trying to bring talents from the grassroots. The tournament is all about the young and underaged and telling the club sides that they can actually start from the grassroots. This is actually a talent discovery tournament, and because we don’t want to go to the NPFL, we do more NLO, which is the bedrock of development.


“This is the second edition. We have been postponing because of COVID as well. After COVID and because of the foreigners and scouts to traveled down to Nigeria because we have people from Denmark and the Czech Republic and about three FIFA licensed agents.


“Good impacts. Players have been discovered. In the last edition, we had less than ten teams, but this season we had more than ten.


''People are now seeing that the Evolution Cup can be a platform for talent discovery, and it is a good thing that Beyond Limit won it this time around.


"This is the first time we will have drones of FIFA-accredited agents in the country and known clubs in Denmark and the Czech Republic coming down to look at talents in Nigeria.


''It shows that Nigeria has talents. We just have to harness proper organisation to bring them on board. "The impact is good. This season is the first time we will have big partners. The President of Remo Stars, Honourable Kunle Soname, bought the idea. ''Despite the fact that his team is playing in several competitions, they still participated.


''That showed his interest. He has put his brands and companies on board: The likes of Bet9ja and Optimal Energy. For him to buy into the initiative means he saw what we didn’t see. At the end of the day, we hope next season it will not be word of mouth but more financial support.


''This year is one week. We plan to have it for more than a week so that these guys will rest well to be able to play well and see more talents. At the end of the day, our partners are coming on board. We have different partners from all over the country.


“It is a gradual process. The COVID-19 season slowed the pace, but this time around, I think the atmosphere is good.


“I don’t think we will have any pandemics coming up. We want to do it consistently, which will make brands come onboard. ''We want to make it a yearly event to discover talents,” he said.


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