The ancient City of Benin is on tenterhooks of high expectations asall arrangements have been concluded for this year’s AITEO Cup grandfinale in the women and men competitions, holding at the SamuelOgbemudia Stadium on Sunday.
Football fans were denied the annual serving last year as a result ofthe global coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted footballactivities and other areas of human endeavour across the universesince the beginning of year 2020. This has further increased theappetite of fans, enthusiasts, stakeholders and those seeking theundiluted entertainment that football matches of Cup final qualitiesoffer.
The fact of either of the two teams on both sides of the finalswinning their first major trophy nationally is another theme that hasshot up anxiety, passion and expectations among their players, fansand officials.
Bayelsa Queens FC, who surprisingly pummeled perennial League and FACup champions Rivers Angels by five goals in the semi finals arebuoyed up for a big encounter against FC Robo Queens of Lagos, whoended the expressed ambitions of Edo Queens 5-3 on penalties afterboth teams were stalemated following a 0-0 draw in regulation time.
The queens from Yenagoa have in their armoury a number of players whohave tasted and still savouring international exposure and experience,including Super Falcons’ midfielders Joy Bokiri and Peace Efih,defender Abidemi Ibe and forwards Mary Anjoh, Joy Jerry and CharityReuben.
While Lagos –based FC Robo Queens have produced a number ofinternational stars such as four-time African Player of the Year andSuper Falcons’ captain Asisat Oshoala and Rasheedat Ajibade, they arecurrently led by one of the most exciting forwards in Nigeria women’sfootball, nimble-footed Gift Monday. Former junior internationalsEsther Onyenezide and Folashade Ijamilusi are also on the books of theLagos Dames.
In the men’s final, Nasarawa United are determined to scoop theirfirst national trophy since the club’s formation 18 years ago.Experience and exposure to continental football at the level of CAFConfederation Cup a few years ago was sweet, so the Solid Miners havebeen looking for another opportunity. Victory on Sunday will restorethem to the continent, and they bank on the marksmanship of SilasNwankwo (who emerged top scorer in this year’s Nigeria ProfessionalFootball League with 19 goals) and the dead ball wizardry of ChigozieObasi to puncture the ambitions of Bayelsa United.
Nasarawa United also have the quality of Anas Yusuf, Tebo Franklin,Shammasu Mohammed, Joshua Obaje and Adamu Hassan to thrust forward atthe Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
Second-tier Bayelsa United, who have had an amazing run in this year’scampaign, upending NPFL teams Rangers International of Enugu, LobiStars of Makurdi and Rivers United of Port Harcourt, are hoping tobecome the first team from Nigeria’s second-tier to win the Cup in 20years. The last team to achieve that were Port Harcourt boys, DolphinsFC who bumped El-Kanemi Warriors 2-0 in 2001.
In their arsenal, they have an efficient goalkeeper in John Shaibu,and can also count on the grit, guts and gumption of former FlyingEagles’ star Bernard Okorowanta, Inikurogha Okardi, Tarabina Biweribo,Endurance Ededibiri and Gabriel Biriduba when the going gets tough inBenin City.
The women’s final will commence at 4pm, with the men’s final starting at 6pm.
*At stake are prize monies of N25 million for the winner of the men’scompetition and N10 million for the winner of the women’s competition.The runner –up for the men’s competition will pocket N10 million, withthe runner –up for the women’s event going home with N5 million.AITEO CUP: PAST FINALS
GOVERNOR’S CUP 1945: Marine 1-0 Corinthians 1946: Lagos Railways 3-0 Port Harcourt FC 1947: Lagos Marine 1-0 Zik Athletics Club 1948: Lagos Railways 1-0 Port Harcourt FC 1949: Lagos Railways 3-0 Port Harcourt FC 1950: Lagos UAC 3-2 Port Harcourt FC 1951: Lagos Railways 3-2 Jos XI 1952: Lagos PAN Bank 6-1 Warri XI 1953: Kano XI 2-1 Lagos DynamosFA CUP 1954: Calabar XI 4-3 Kano XI 1955: Port Harcourt FC 4-1 Kano XI 1956: Lagos Railways 3-1 Warri XI 1957: Lagos Railways 5-0 Zaria XI 1958: Port Harcourt FC 6-0 Federal United 1959: Ibadan XI 2-1 PoliceCHALLENGE CUP 1960: Lagos ECN 4-1 Ibadan XI 1961: Ibadan Lions 1-0 Lagos UAC 1962: Police 1-0 Jos XI 1963: Port Harcourt FC 1-0 Jos XI 1964: Lagos Railways 3-1 Jos XI 1965: Lagos ECN 3-1 Jos XI 1966: Ibadan Lions W/O Jos XI 1967: Stationery Stores 3-1 Jos XI 1968: Stationery Stores 3-1 Jos Plateau (First match ended 2-2) 1969: Ibadan Lions 5-1 Warri XI 1970: Lagos ECN 3-1 Mighty Jets 1971: WNDC Ibadan 2-1 Enugu Rangers 1972: Bendel Insurance 3-2 Mighty Jets 1973: -All Africa Games 1974: Enugu Rangers 2-0 Mighty Jets 1975: Enugu Rangers 1-0 Shooting Stars 1976: Enugu Rangers 2-0 Alyufsalam Rocks 1977: Shooting Stars 2-0 Raccah Rovers 1978: Bendel Insurance 3-0 Enugu Rangers 1979: Shooting Stars 2-0 Sharks FC 1980: Bendel Insurance 1-0 Stationery Stores 1981: Enugu Rangers 2-0 Bendel Insurance 1982: Stationery Stores 4-1 Niger Tornadoes 1983: Enugu Rangers 0-0 DIC Bees*Rangers won 5-4 on penalty shootout 1984: Leventis United 1-0 Abiola Babes 1985: Abiola Babes 0-0 BCC Lions*Abiola Babes won 6 – 5 on penalty shootout 1986: Leventis United 1-0 Abiola Babes 1987: Abiola Babes 1-1 Ranchers Bees*Abiola Babes won 7-6 on penalty shootout1988: Iwuanyanwu 3-0 Flash Flamingoes 1989: BCC Lions 1-0 Iwuanyanwu1990 Stationery Stores 0-0 Enugu Rangers*Stores won 5-4 on penalty shootout1991: El-Kanemi Warriors 3-2 Kano Pillars FC 1992: El-Kanemi 1-0 Stationery Stores 1993: BCC Lions 1-0 Plateau United 1994: BCC Lions 1-0 Julius Berger FC 1995: Shooting Stars 2-0 Katsina United 1996: Julius Berger 1-0 Katsina United 1997: BCC Lions 1-0 Katsina United 1998: Wikki Tourists 0-0 Plateau United 1999: Plateau United 1-0 Iwuanyanwu 2000: Tornadoes 1-0 Rangers 2001: Dolphins FC 2-0 El-Kanemi 2002: Julius Berger 3-0 Yobe Stars 2003: Lobi Stars 2-0 Sharks FC 2004: Dolphins FC 1-0 Enugu Rangers 2005: Enyimba 1-1 Lobi Stars*Enyimba won 6-5 on penalty shootout 2006: Dolphins FC 2-2 Bendel Insurance*Dolphin won 5-3 on penalty shootout 2007: Dolphins FC 1-1 Enugu Rangers* Dolphin won 3-2 on penalty shootout 2008: Ocean Boys 2-2 Gombe United* Ocean Boys won 7-6 on penalty shootoutFEDERATION CUP2009: Enyimba 1-0 Sharks FC2010: Kaduna United 3-3 Enyimba* Kaduna United won 3-2 on penalty shootout2011: Heartland 1-0 Enyimba2012: Heartland 2-1 Lobi Stars2013 Enyimba 2-2 Warri Wolves*Enyimba won 5-4 on penalty shootout2014: Enyimba 2-1 Dolphins FC2015: Akwa United 2-1 Lobi Stars2016: FC IfeanyiUbah 0-0 Nassarawa United*FC IfeanyiUbah won 5-4 on penalty shootout2017: Akwa United 0-0 Niger Tornadoes*Akwa United won 3-2 on penalties2018: Rangers Int’l 3 Kano Pillars 3* Rangers Int’l won 4-2 on penalties2019: Kano Pillars 0-0 Niger Tornadoes* Pillars won 4-3 on penalties
AITEO CUP (WOMEN’S COMPETITION)
PAST WINNERS1992: Ufuoma Babes (Warri)1993: Ufuoma Babes (Warri)1994: Ufuoma Babes (Warri)1995: Pelican Stars (Calabar)1996: Ufuoma Babes (Warri)1997: Pelican Stars (Calabar)1998: Pelican Stars (Calabar)1999: Pelican Stars (Calabar)2000: FCT Queens (Abuja)2001: Pelican Stars (Calabar)2002: Pelican Stars (Calabar)2003: NO COMPETITION2004: Delta Queens (Asaba)2005: Nasarawa Amazons (Lafia)2006: Delta Queens (Asaba)2008: Delta Queens (Asaba)2009: Delta Queens (Asaba)2010: Rivers Angels (Port Harcourt)2011: Rivers Angels (Port Harcourt)2012: Rivers Angels (Port Harcourt)2013: Rivers Angels (Port Harcourt)2014: Rivers Angels (Port Harcourt)2015: Sunshine Queens (Akure)2016: Rivers Angels (Port Harcourt)2017: Rivers Angels (Port Harcourt)2018: Rivers Angels (Port Harcourt)2019: Nasarawa Amazons (Lafia)
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