The idea of the NFF Cup in the line of the English NFF Cup was first invited by Football enthusiasts towards the end of the Second World War. They were enthralled by the growing number of football clubs in some parts of the country, particularly Lagos, Calabar and Ibadan.
In 1945, the Governor-General of Nigeria Arthur Frederick Richards (later Lord Milverton) donated a beautiful silver trophy for competition among clubs in the country. The trophy was called the Governor’s Cup.
In 1954, when the three regions of Nigeria were created (West, North and East) and Regional Governors were appointed for the Regions, it became obvious that the appellation of the competition had to change to word the confusion that was bound to arise since the Regions had started their own local competitions for their various Governor’s Cup.
In 1954, therefore the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) which has also been formed held a general meeting to decide on a change of name for the competition. Thus, the outcome of the meeting held on Monday February 25, 1954 saw a new name for the competition. The NFA simply name it the Nigeria Football Association Cup (FA Cup).
The inaugural competition featured eight teams all from Lagos which already had a organized competition called Pa Mulford Memorial Cup. The eight clubs were; Marines (later called Nigeria Port Authority); Corinthians (a team of the labor department); Zik Athletic Club (ZAC); Post and Telegraph (P&T); Public Works Department (PWD) United African Company (UAC), Lands and Survey Club and the Railways.
Marines won the maiden edition beating Corinthians by 1 – 0.
In 1946, the first team outside Lagos jointed the competition. The team Abeokuta Town selected was led by owe school teacher called Mr. E. E. Efiok.
In 1948, other town teams entered the competition – Port-Harcourt, Calabar, Jos, Kano, Aba and Kaduna. Lagos team more established the others continued to dominate by winning the trophy for the first eight years of the competition. Kano XI was the first team outside Lagos to win the cup in 1953 when they beat Lagos Dynamos by 2 -1. Thereafter, other teams found the nerves to contest supremacy with Lagos. For two years after Kano victory no Lagos club ever got to the finals of the competition.
After 1960, perhaps the most intriguing development of the NFF Cup was the presence of Plateau (the team from Jos) in the finals of the competition. In 14 years, the Plateau representatives got to the finals nine times and could not win the cup at any time.
However, in 1970, the silver cup originally donated by the Governor-General in 1945 was replaced with a Gold Trophy donated by the Nigeria Football Association (NFA). The Gold Trophy was first won by Electric Corporation of Nigeria (ECN) now PHCN.
Between 1970 to date saw a great deal of improvement and innovations which has the desired glamour to the NFF Cup in Nigeria.