Teslim ‘Thunder' Balogun, who died 40 years ago last month, is still a living lion in the memory of many who saw him decimate opponents with the ease of a medical doctor prescribing drug for a patient. He was also Nigeria's first authentic goalscoring hero, leading the UK Tourists' (later Red Devils) line before coaching the Senior National Team to the 1968 Olympic Games Men's Football Tournament in Mexico City.
Lobi Stars, also in the hunt for the Nigeria Premier League title, outflanked Kano Pillars on penalties in Calabar on Wednesday while the champions also got the better of surprise packets Prime FC on penalties in Ilorin.
Already, the Lagos State Government has made adequate arrangements to have 10,000 secondary school students fill up a part of the 23,000 – capacity venue, with other spectators occupying the rest to make for a full house on a glamour day.
Activities at the venue will start at 12 noon, with musical entertainment and comedy shows for the crowd, before the arrival of special guests and dignitaries, as well as Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) of Lagos State, who has donated a giant new trophy for the competition.
Governors Gabriel Suswan and Rochas Okorocha, whose teams are involved in the final match, are also expected.
Chairman of the ruling People's Democratic Party, Alhaji (Dr) Bamanga Tukur, Deputy Chairman, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, Sports Minister, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, Inspector General of Police M. D. Abubakar, Chairman of Senate Committee on Sports Adamu Gumba and Chairman of House of Reps' Committee on Sports Godfrey Ali Gaiya have also been invited to grace the occasion.
Lobi Stars won the Federation Cup, then known as Challenge Cup, in 2003 after a 2-0 whiplash of Sharks FC of Port Harcourt. The club then lost the 2005 final to then African champions Enyimba FC of Aba on penalties, after both teams battled to a 1-1 draw.
Heartland FC, then known as Iwuanyanwu Nationale, humiliated Flash Flamingoes of Benin 3-0 in the 1988 final and then pipped Oriental rivals Enyimba Fc 1-0 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium last year.