COUNTDOWN TO 2018 AITEO CUP FINAL: KANO PILLARS DREAM OF NEW HEIGHTS; RANGERS SEEK OLD GLORY

COUNTDOWN TO 2018 AITEO CUP FINAL: KANO PILLARS DREAM OF NEW HEIGHTS; RANGERS SEEK OLD GLORY

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

 

It is different strokes as Kano Pillars and Rangers International clash in what is easily the strongest match-up of a Nigerian Cup final in almost three decades.

 

Before now, it is either two average-powered clubs meeting in the final, or a strong side facing a weaker one.

 

This time, Kano Pillars, four-time league champions in the past 10 years are facing the seven-time Nigerian league champions, Rangers.

 

Both however have different background as far as the national cup is concerned. Kano Pillars are getting to the final for the second time since 1991when they lost to El Kanemi in the first all-northern cup final.

 

For Rangers, they have been honour-starved for 35 years since winning the title for the fifth time in what was the first to be decided on penalties.

 

Rangers have had four other shots at the title but failed in 1990, losing on penalties to Super Stores; losing 0-1 through a self-inflicted goal to Niger Tornadoes in 2000; the defunct Dolphin in 2004 and 2007.

 

In terms of playing the final match, Rangers tower higher than other clubs in the country having featured in 11 final matches and won five times.

 

But the ancient city of Kano, also have claims to honours in Nigeria’s cup final. For the records, the provincial team of Kano became the first non-Lagos side to win in 1953 when Nzeli captained the team to beat Lagos Dynamos 2-1.

 

The North had to wait for 36 years before a club in the region, BCC Lions, won in 1989. Before then, Mighty Jets, DIC Bees, Alyufsalam as well as Raccah Rovers of Kano had struggled in vein.

 

If Kano Pillars win, it will be the first time that Nigeria’s national cup will go to the city since 1953.

 

 

 

 

 

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