A Plea To Governor Ortom To Wake Up The Sleeping Giants, BCC Lions F.C Of Gboko
By Citizen John AkeviSir, before its declined fortunes, BCC Lions Football Club of Gboko was once a leading and formidable club ruling the Nigerian football landscape, especially towards 80s and early 90s. Historically, BCC Lions FC, formerly owned by Benue
Cement Company Plc, Gboko, which is also known as Lions of Gboko, commands huge followership and supporters across the country, most especially in the northern part of the country.
To the Tiv people of Benue State, BCC Lions FC represents what Enyimba International FC of Aba is to the Igbos, Kano Pillars FC (sai masugida) to the Hausas and Shooting Stars FC of Ibadan to the Yorubas.
As a giant among the Nigerian club side, BCC Lions FC was the first club in the northern part of the country that won the Challenge Cup now FA Cup. In 1989 BCC Lions FC of Gboko defeated Iwanyanwu Nationale FC of Owerri 1-0 in the final at Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium Bauchi. After the 1989 triumph , BCC Lions FC subsequently won the cup on three different occasions – 1993,1994 and 1997 respectively. In 1994, BCC Lions also won the Nigerian Premier League title and the African Cup Winner’s Cup in 1990. There is no doubt that the Lions of Gboko has produced
great players who have really done the club, state and the nation proud in their chosen career. Players such as Dominic Iorfa, Sam Adingi, Moses Kpakor, Felix Pilakyaa, Bolaji Douglas, Aham Nwanko, Imadu Dooyum, Sam-Pam Jr.,John Zaki, Wilfred
Agbonavbare as well as late Lemi Yisa, Amir Angwe and Terfa Kpako among others.
In terms of administration, the club produced several administrators one among them is the legendary and efficient manager in the person of Dominic Iorfa who passionately managed Lobi Stars FC,Makurdi for many years and was instrumental to the success of the club both within Nigeria and outside the country. However, the future of the
club had continued to evaporate since the Gboko base team lost to Shooting Stars FC of Ibadan at the Amateur league in 1998. Since then, the club was unable to regain its lost glory, unlike other big clubs in Nigeria that had gone on relegation for
a number of times and barely managed to bounce back to the premier league. An attempt to resurrect the club in 2002 by the then administration of Senator Dr. George Akume in partner with Guilder Brewing Plc has totally failed. In 2007 the Board Chairman of Benue Cement Company Plc, Alhaji Aliko Dangote approved N110 million for the club to participate in the 2008/2009 season which ended in a disaster – finishing 13th on the table. Today, BCC Lions FC of Gboko is nowhere to be found.
Therefore, I am making a compassionate plea to the government of Dr Samuel Ortom and the good people of Benue State, especially our Tiv sons and daughters and the management of Benue Cement Company Plc, Gboko to, as a matter of urgency,wake up the sleeping giant for it to return to it glorious days.