The stage is set for this year’s Federation Cup grand finale, with Lobi Stars and Akwa United going up against each other’s jugular in the men’s final at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Sunday.
The NFF announced on Friday that the women’s final, between Sunshine Queens and Bayelsa Queens, will start at the same venue by 1pm, while the men’s final will kick off by 3.30pm.
It is an interesting match –up in the men’s final, with Akwa United aiming to win their first title while Lobi Stars will be looking for a second title after they won in 2003, and then lost in the final in 2005 nd 2012.
Incidentally, it was another team from the south-south zone, Sharks FC, that Lobi beat 2-0 for their only previous triumph.
However, Akwa United have had a storied run to this year’s final, hammering Dallatu United 6-0 and trouncing Peacemakers 3-1, before edging Prime FC, Niger Tornadoes Feeders and Nasarawa United in the latter stages.
Lobi Stars showed maturity and diligence in dispatching five –time champions Enugu Rangers in a bad –tempered semi final in Katsina, and would prefer to look back at close –calls against Niger Tornadoes, Remo Stars and BJ Foundation as confirmation that this must be their year of glory.
Lobi can call on Super Eagles B defender Samson Gbadebo, Moses Bunde, Anthony Agbaji, Achiv Douglas, captain Terna Ikpeen and Ukeyima Akombo. But Akwa are also not wanting, with competition top scorer Ubong Friday, the precocious Aniekpeno Udoh, Olewezi Johnson and Namso Edo all able to cause havoc for the opposition on their good day.
In the women’s final, Sunshine Queens will rely heavily on Super Falcons’ goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi, Chisom Henry, Chidinma Okoro, Gladys Abasi, Yetunde Aluko and Aminat Yakubu, as well as competition leading scorer Tina Oyateleme.
Bayelsa Queens will set much store by Super Falcons’ midfielder Osarenoma Igbinovia, Lilian Cole and the Falconets’ trio of Yetunde Adeboyejo, Joy Bokiri and Sandra Chichi.
ROAD TO THE FINAL
Lobi Stars 5 Mighty Junior 1 (State Final)
Lobi Stars 4 Junior Sportlight 1 (Round of 64)
Lobi Stars 1 Niger Tornadoes 0 (Round of 32)
Lobi Stars 1 Remo Stars 1 (4-3 penalties: Round of 16)
Lobi Stars 2 BJ Foundation 1 (Quarter Final)
Lobi Stars 1 Enugu Rangers 0 (Semi Final)
ROAD TO THE FINAL
Akwa United 0 Akwa Starlet 1 (State Final)
Akwa United 6 Dallatu United 0 (Round of 64)
Akwa United 3 Peacemakers 1 (Round of 32)
Akwa United 1 Prime FC 0 (Round of 16)
Akwa United 2 Tornadoes Feeders 2 (4-3 penalties: Quarter Final)
Akwa United 1 Nasarawa United 0 (Semi Final)