Sponsors, AITEO Group have promised to enable even more spectacle and
glamour for the next edition of the AITEO Cup men and women
competitions even as the euphoria of Sunday’s classic grand finale in
Benin City is still to die down. The company also felicitated with the
deserving winners of the 2021 Aiteo Cup finals in the men and women
competitions: Bayelsa United FC and Bayelsa Queens FC.
The football firmament in Benin City had BAYELSA written all over it
on Sunday as Bayelsa United FC and Bayelsa Queens FC became the first
teams from the same State to claim both honours in Nigeria’s Cup
Despite driving rain at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, all four teams
fought hard for the gongs, refusing to allow the elements to affect
their hunt for honours or dampen their enthusiasm.
“We are satisfied with the level of play and organization which has
facilitated the discovery of fresh talent for the National Teams. As a
responsible and sustainable organization, we hope that as we continue
to secure the nation’s energy future, the Aiteo Cup will continue to
discover new markets, platforms and resources from the grassroots,
enabling economic prosperity for all stakeholders involved,” AITEO
Group’s Head of Corporate Communications, Media and Events, Ndiana
Matthew told thenff.com.
Bayelsa Queens and FC Robo Queens displayed grit, guts and gumption in
the women’s final, with both teams refusing to be discouraged by
pouring rain. The turf of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium also held firm
and remained playable as all four teams wrote new chapters in the
story of Nigeria’s oldest competition.
Super Eagles’ nifty forward Gift Monday exhibited the traits of a true
leader for FC Robo Queens, with her remarkable football sense, guile
and bravery. But the queens from Yenagoa had free-scoring Mary Anjor –
who emerged the competition top scorer with eight goals – and it was a
bridge too far for the Lagos girls. Anjor’s early goal and relentless
push and assists earned Bayelsa Queens a 4-2 win.
The men’s final was no less interesting, producing four goals in 45
minutes as both Nasarawa United and Bayelsa United chased their
first-ever national diadem and a ticket to represent Nigeria in the
CAF Confederation Cup. Second-tier Bayelsa United took off from where
they left off in the earlier rounds against more illustrious
(first-tier) opponents, in which they downed Rangers International,
Lobi Stars and Rivers United. A 19th minute goal by Inikurogha Okardi
(brother of former Flying Eagle Blessing Okardi) set them on their
way. But no so fast. Nasarawa United responded immediately through
Aliyu Abubakar shot the Solid Miners ahead seven minutes later but
with nine minutes to interval, Emo James nodded in brilliantly to draw
level. The second half produced fireworks but no goal, and NPFL
goleador Silas Nwankwo was among those who failed to score from six
yards in the ensuing penalty shoot-out.
Dignitaries included the Executive Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin
Nogheghase Obaseki; President of NFF and FIFA Council Member, Mr Amaju
Melvin Pinnick; Deputy Governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shaibu;
Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe; Deputy Governor
of Bayelsa State, Hon. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo ; Mr. Kola Daniel,
Representative of the Minister of Sports; Mr. Ndiana Matthew,
Representative of Executive Vice Chairman of AITEO Group; First Lady
of Edo State; Members of the NFF Executive Committee and Management;
top officials of the Edo State cabinet; special advisers and political
and business bigwigs.
Extant Covid-19 protocols meant only 30 percent of the room in the
stands of the 20,000 –capacity stadium was taken up, yet the fans
loudly and joyfully made their presence felt.
“We congratulate every team tgat participated in this year’s finals as
well as all stakeholders who facilitated the grand finale, the host
government, Edo State and our partners, Nigeria Football Federation,”
Ndiana Matthew added.
President of NFF and FIFA Council Member, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick,
said the Federation is happy with sponsors AITEO and will continue to
ensure the organization of the competition is top-notch.
AITEO, Nigeria’s leading energy solutions company and diversified
conglomerate, became NFF’s Exclusive Optimum Partner in early 2018,
and the same year grabbed the sponsorship of the Federation Cup,
renaming it AITEO Cup.