The PUNCHERS have sent a warning signal to their opponents Media Selected team – which comprises journalists from other newspaper houses in the country – when both sides clash in a novelty match at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos to mark the 50th anniversary of The PUNCH Newspapers February 24.

The highly anticipated and potentially explosive novelty match marks the commencement of an array of epoch-making activities for the 50th anniversary celebration of Nigeria’s most read newspaper.

The PUNCHERS will be coached by former Super Eagles midfielder and 1992 AFCON bronze medallist Friday Expo as they go up against selected journalists from Tribune, Nation, Vanguard, ThisDay, Leadership and The Guardian newspapers.

Former Super Eagles forward and bronze medallist at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations, Victor Agali, is coach of the Media Selected team.

Already, The PUNCHERS have intensified training, with a squad of about 50 players from different departments have assembled ahead of their training sessions, which begin on Wednesday at the football pitch of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry along the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, Magboro, Ogun State.

General Manager, Digital and Publication, The PUNCH, Ademola Oni, is confident that The PUNCHERS will replicate the company’s dominance in the market over the years against the selected opponents.

“We are going to beat them silly to make a statement that we are the topmost and foremost newspaper organisation in sub-Saharan Africa over 50 years,” Oni said.

PUNCH, the publisher of the nation’s leading newspaper titles, The PUNCH, Saturday PUNCH, Sunday PUNCH, PUNCH Online and PUNCH Sports Extra, clocked 50 March 18, 2023.

However, its board of directors moved the 50th anniversary celebration to this year because the anniversary month fell within an election month and year.

The 50th anniversary will be marked with the 40th anniversary of the passing of the founding Chairman, the late Chief James Olubunmi Aboderin, who died February 28, 1984, aged 50.

After the novelty match, PUNCH will also hold a three-day photo exhibition at the Alliance Francaise de Lagos/Mike Adenuga Centre, Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, on Wednesday, February 28 to afford its readers and other Nigerians an opportunity to view the best photographs from its extensive pictorial archive of the biggest news events in the nation’s history.

The high point of the anniversary is a distinguished public lecture to be held on Thursday, February 29 at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe Road, Victoria Island, Lagos. The lecture is expected to play host to leaders from the public and private sectors.

The weeklong activities continue on Saturday, March 2 at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos, where PUNCH will host a black-tie dinner to acknowledge the contributions of its stakeholders to the successes of the organisation.