Sapele is a city in southwestern Nigeria, located in the Delta state. Sapele is located at the head of the Benin River, which flows into the Niger Delta.
The development of football in Sapele began in the 1950s, when football was in its infancy in Nigeria, and Sapele, a city known for its excellence, was at the forefront of football at the time. The then Sapele Municipality Stadium was one of the first stadiums built in Nigeria. The desire to fully develop football at the grassroots level gave rise to the Sapele Amateur Football Association in 1987.
This was quickly followed by the organization of the inaugural Sapele Nations Cup competition in 1988. It was a competition that featured 16 teams from and around Sapele. Some of the teams that participated in the inaugural Nations Cup competition include: KB Stars, Athletico De Marin, Ghana Black Stars and Loaders FC
The contest was organized by Mr. Gabriel Igarri and Mr. Dan Evumena. It is interesting to note that the inaugural Sapele Nations Cup trophy was donated by Chief DOP Akpeki, the Ugo of the Kingdom of Okpe. Returning to the development of football in Sapele, it is worth remembering that in 1968 the Nova Luna Football Club was formed. It was the first youth club in Sapele. It was founded by the late Mr. Tony Okonedo, who was then a graduate soccer referee. She also founded the women’s soccer club that same year. After the formation of Nova Luna, the Niger Pools football club came in 1969. It was formed by the Niger Pools company.
It later morphed into Strangers Football Club in 1969, which was made up of former Niger Pools FC Strangers Football club players and was later captained by Olayinka John (Ayogi), who died on January 7, 2010 after a prolonged illness. The club existed for two and a half years.
In 1971, Ethiope FC Sapele was formed and gained prominence due to the caliber of the players in its fold. When the club was rumored to be leaving Sapele for a new base, then Bendel-Osaigbovo State Governor Ogbemudia took over the club’s affairs and renamed it New Nigeria Bank FC, based in Sapele.
There were four State Clubs in the then Bendel State
Ethiope Football Club (later renamed New Nigeria Bank FC Sapele)
Viper FC Benin (later renamed Bendel Insurance of Benin)
Ika Rangers FC Agbor (later renamed Midwest Line FC)
Warri Wolves FC Warri (later renamed Midwest Line FC z)
These four clubs were later transferred to various companies by the then Bendel State Government.
In 1971/72, there were the eleven FC brothers and Eleven Strikers FC, both based in Sapele.
The late Olayinka John (Ayogi) was the then coach of eleven siblings. The club produced players like German Odjegbe, who was the then captain of the Bendel U-17 soccer team that won the gold medal at the 1973 National Sports Festival. The club also produced Prince Afejukwu, Oshoff Shogbene, the goalkeeper. Nasiru Momoh, Samuel Afejukwu, and Ighoraye Ogayone. Once Strikers FC was then captained by Monday Daibo and the team had players like Andrew Boyo.
In 1973, Ethiope FC later renamed New Nigeria Bank FC left Sapele and in 1974, the team was then known as Custom and Exercise FC A large number of Strangers FC Sapele players formed the Custom FC, which was then under the Custom Department. and Exercise. .
The team was then captained by inspiring defender Gabriel Igarri from 1975 to 1983. Within this period under review, other teams emerged in the metropolis of Sapele. These include: Government Coastal Agency FC – founded in 1976, Seaboard FC (comprising Delta Packaging Company, Life Flour Mills and Top Feeds) – founded in 1977 and Palm Line Agency FC – founded in 1977. Of these three teams, one team set to represent that Sapele was formed. Then it was called Urhiapele FC Urhiapele FC was founded in the 1985/1986 season. However, the club did not last long due to administrative problems. They only played one friendly match against the Warri football club of the Nigerian National Oil Company.
There was also the Rainbow Football club, which was born in 1980. The club then playing in the State League / State Challenge Cup was sponsored by Chief Michael Ibru. One notable player to come out of the ranks of Rainbow FC was goalkeeper Andrew Aikhomogbe, who later rose to fame and represented the U-17 national team, the Golden Eaglets, at the FIFA U-17 Championship with Scotland. .