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FEDERATION CUP

‘Nest of Champions’ to host former Nigerian champions’ clash

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Nigeria's Nest of Champions, the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

Two former Nigerian football league champions, Enyimba FC and Rivers United will open this season’s national cup – the Federation Cup in what could have been a final match of the competition.

The clash may end up being the most glamorous of the projected 41 matches leading to the title match.

Nowhere else is ideal centre for the clash of champions other than the ‘Nest of Champions’ as the Godswill Akpabio Stadium Uyo is nicknamed.

Rivers United are the current Nigerian League Champions. Enyimba are the most successful Nigerian club in history having been the sole winners of the CAF Champions League (2003 and 2004) as well as being Nigeria’s only winners and first back-to-back winners of the CAF Super Cup – 2003 and 2004.

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In addition, Enyimba have been Nigerian league champions for a record eight times as well as the national cup on four instances.

The explosive match comes up on Wednesday, just a day before Rivers United depart for their quarter-final match with Tanzania’s Young Africans in the CAF Confederation Cup.

ALL THE ROUND OF 64 FIXTURES (MEN)

  • Heartland FC (Imo) vs Jedo FC (Sokoto) – Area 3 Abuja – 26/04/23 – 12pm   
  • Bayelsa United (Bayelsa) Vs Essien Ayi FC (Cross River) – Aba – 26/04/23 – 2pm
  • Ahudiya FC (Abia) Vs Jigawa Golden Stars (Jigawa) – Jos – 26/04/23 – 2pm
  • ABS FC (Kwara) Vs Bendel Insurance FC (Edo) – Lagos – 26/04/23 – 2pm
  • Standard FC (Kaduna) Vs Ekiti United (Ekiti) – Lokoja – 26/04/23 – 12pm
  • FC Basira (Nasarawa) Vs Sunshine Stars (Ondo) – Lokoja – 26/04/23 – 2pm
  • EFCC FC (FCT) Vs Katukan Tsafe FC (Zamfara) – Kano – 26/04/23 – 2pm
  • Wikki Tourists (Bauchi) Vs Akwa United FC (Akwa Ibom) – UNEC Enugu – 27/04/23 – 4pm
  • Warri Wolves (Delta) Vs Beyond Limit FC (Ogun) – Awka – 26/04/23 – 4pm
  • 3SC (Oyo) Vs Adamimogo FC (Ondo) – Lagos – 26/04/23 – 2pm
  • Mighty Jets (Plateau) Vs Niger Tornadoes Feeders (Niger) – Kaduna – 26/04/23 – 4pm
  • Malumfashi FC (Katsina) Vs Gombe United (Gombe) – Jos – 26/04/23 – 4pm
  • Osun United (Osun) Vs Katsina United (Katsina) – Area 3 Abuja – 26/04/23 – 2pm
  • Bendel Insurance Feeders (Edo) Vs Maikunkele FC (Niger) – Lokoja – 26/04/23 – 4pm
  • Cynosure FC (Ebonyi) Vs Kano Pillars Jnr (Kano) – Lokoja – 27/04/23 – 4pm
  • Lobi Stars (Benue) Vs FC One Rocket (Akwa Ibom) – Awka – 26/04/23 – 12pm
  • Jama United (Zamfara) Vs Plateau United (Plateau) – Kano – 26/04/23 – 4pm
  • Rivers United (Rivers) Vs Enyimba FC (Abia) – Uyo – 26/04/23 – 4pm
  • Ingas FC (Enugu) Vs Novia FC (Adamawa) – Kaduna – 26/04/23 – 2pm
  • El-Kanemi Warriors (Borno) Vs De Cardinal FC (Rivers) – Area 3 Abuja – 26/04/23 – 4pm
  • Nasarawa United (Nasarawa) Vs Kebbi United (Kebbi) – Minna – 26/04/23 – 4pm
  • DMD FC (Borno) Vs ABJ FC (Bauchi) – Gombe – 26/04/23 – 4pm
  • Ikorodu City (Lagos) Vs Crusader FC (Bayelsa) – Owerri – 26/04/23 – 2pm
  • Gateway United (Ogun) Vs Kwara United (Kwara)- Ibadan – 27/04/23 – 2pm
  • FC Ebedei (Ekiti) Vs Hope of Glory FC (Cross River) – Awka – 26/04/23 – 2pm
  • Yobe Desert Stars (Yobe) Vs Igbajo FC (Osun) – Goal Project Abuja – 26/04/23 – 12pm
  • Adamawa United (Adamawa) Vs Rangers Int’l (Enugu) – Goal Project Abuja – 27/04/23 – 4pm
  • Ilaji FC (Oyo) Vs Kano Pillars (Kano) – Minna – 26/04/23 – 2pm
  • Green Berets FC (Kaduna) Vs FR Ebunuja (Imo) – Lokoja – 27/04/23 – 2pm
  • Ozalla FC (Anambra) Vs Doma United (Gombe) – Goal Project Abuja – 26/04/23 – 2pm
  • Kogi United Feeders (Kogi) Vs Edel FC (Anambra) – Akure – 26/04/23 – 4pm
  • Mailantarki FC (FCT) Vs kogi United (Kogi) – Jos – 26/04/23 – 12pm

ALL THE ROUND OF 32 FIXTURES (WOMEN)

  • Bayelsa Queens (Bayelsa) – Bye
  • Akwa Angels (Akwa Ibom) Vs Dannaz Ladies (Lagos) – Asaba – 27/04/23 – 4pm
  • Owo Itan FC (Akwa Ibom) Vs Fortress FC (Edo) – Aba – 28/04/23 – 4pm
  • Honey Badgers (Benue) Vs Kada FC (Kaduna) – Minna – 28/04/23 – 4pm
  • Heartland Queens (Imo) Vs Confluence Queens (Kogi) – Asaba – 28/04/23 – 4pm
  • Lakeside FC (Ogun) Vs Kwara Ladies (Kwara) – Ibadan – 28/04/23 – 4pm
  • Sunshine Queens (Ondo) Vs Edo Queens (Edo) – Awka – 28/04/23 – 4pm
  • Maureen Mmadu KFC (Abia) Vs Green Foot (Enugu) – Owerri – 28/04/23 – 4pm
  • FC Robo (Lagos) Vs Immaculate Queens (Enugu) – Warri – 28/04/23 – 4pm
  • First Mah FC (Imo) Vs Royal Queens (Delta) – Ekiti – 28/04/23 – 4pm
  • Nasarawa Amazons (Nasarawa) Vs Gallant FC (Kaduna) – Jos – 28/04/23 – 4pm
  • Naija Ratels (FCT) Vs Adamawa Queens (Adamawa) – Bauchi – 28/04/23 – 4pm
  • Rivers Angels (Rivers) Vs Golden Sun FC (Bayelsa) – Uyo – 28/04/23 – 4pm
  • Osun Babes (Osun) Vs Awka Angels (Anambra) – Abuja – 28/04/23 – 4pm
  • Ekiti Queens (Ekiti) Vs Moje Queens (Kwara) – Lagos – 28/04/23 – 4pm
  • Paul E. FC (FCT) Vs Delta Queens (Delta) – Enugu – 28/04/23 – 4pm  

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

FEDERATION CUP

President Federation Cup: Remo Stars, Rivers Angels, Delta Queens & Naija Ratels reach semi finals!

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Multi-titlists Rivers Angels have zoomed into the last four of this year’s President Federation Cup in style, after a 5-0 hammering of Osun Babes in Enugu on Wednesday.

Abuja-based Naija Ratels also reached the semi finals, following a 5-4 penalty shootout defeat of FC Robo Queens of Lagos at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba. Both teams ended the regulation period with scoreline at 1-1.

Delta Queens cut Sunshine Queens from Akure to size with a 2-0 defeat at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.

Also in Benin City, Remo Stars Ladies continued their fairy-tale run in this year’s competition with a 3-2 penalty shootout defeat of veteran campaigners Nasarawa Amazons, after both teams were stalemated at 1-1 following regulation time.

On Thursday, the finalists will emerge in the men’s competition, with Abia Warriors up against Kano Pillars at the Lafia City Stadium, and Kebbi United up against El-Kanemi Warriors at the NFF/FIFA Goal Project in Abuja. Both games will commence at 4pm.

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WOMEN’S SEMI-FINAL PAIRINGS

  • Remo Stars Ladies (Ogun) Vs Naija Ratels (FCT)
  • Delta Queens (Delta) Vs Rivers Angels (Rivers)
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FEDERATION CUP

For the 1st time ever, President Federation Cup final holds in Abuja

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

 The final match of Nigeria national Cup, named President Federation Cup will hold for the first time ever at the nation’s capital city, Abuja.  

The national cup itself is in its 79th  edition having began in 1945 and held yearly except in 1973 owing to congested calendar and in 2020 as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic will have this year’s final match at the MKO Abiola National Stadium.

 The stadium, commissioned 21 years ago will be the 15th arena to host the final match since 1945.  

The national cup final which began as Governor’s Cup had its origin at Onikan Stadium which was then known as Association Ground. It hosted the national final under different names from 1945 to 1972 as it changed names from Association Ground to King George V and later to Lagos City Stadium.

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It never hosted the final under the name of Onikan Stadium, a name it adopted after the old structure was pulled down in 1974 and rebuilt by Lateef Jakande’s government in the early 1980s.

It last hosted the then Challenge Cup in 1972 in an ill-tempered match between Mighty Jets and the then Bendel Insurance. The match ended 2-2 and had to be replayed. It was the last time a national final match was held at the water-front arena.

For the first time, the final was moved to Ibadan at the then Liberty Stadium, now renamed Obafemi Awolowo Stadium. The 1974 final was played at the newly built National Stadium, Lagos where successive editions were held uninterrupted till the 1988 edition which held at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan.

The fifth stadium to host the final match was Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi in 1989. It was in Bauchi that history was made when for the first time in 36 years; a club from the North won the national Cup.

The relatively unknown and young Amodu Shaibu coached BCC Lions to beat a higher rated Iwuanyanwu Nationale 1-0.

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The Bauchi stadium went on to host in 1994. Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi was the sixth host in 1992. It hosted again in 2008.

Sports Village Square recalls that the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna in 1993 became the seventh host. Since then, the arena that was inaugurated on August 2, 1964 hosted again in 1997 and 2003.

The eighth host was Ranchers Bees Stadium in Kaduna in 1998. Ogbemudia Stadium hosted in 2004 and 2021 as the ninth arena while Liberation Stadium, now renamed Yakubu Gowon Stadium hosted in 2005.

The MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta became the 10th stadium to host the then FA Cup in 2006. For the first time, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos hosted the final in 2007 a role it repeatedly played in 2009 and from 2011 to 2016.

The 12th stadium to host the final match was Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano in 2010. The 13th was the Agege Stadium in 2017 while the Stephen Keshi Stadium became the 14th after hosting the 2018 and 2023.

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Past National Cup Final Matches Venues

  • Association Ground, Lagos (Later Lagos City Stadium), Onikan Stadium & Mobolaji Johnson Arena 1945 to 1972)
  • Liberty Stadium, Ibadan (Now Obafemi Awolowo Stadium) 1972 replay.
  • National Stadium, Lagos. 1974 -1987, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1999-2002.
  • Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan. 1988.
  • Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi. 1989, 1994.
  • Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi. 1992, 2008.
  • Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna. 1993, 1997, 2003.
  • Ranchers Bees Stadium, Kaduna. 1998.
  • Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin. 2004, 2021
  • Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt (now Yakubu Gowon Stadium). 2005.
  • Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos. 2007, 2009, 2011 – 2016.
  • Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano. 2010.
  • Agege Stadium, Lagos, 2017
  • Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, 2018, 2023
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FEDERATION CUP

Tough Duels in Women’s President Federation Cup Final Eight

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Nasarawa Amazons go up against Remo Stars Ladies at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, in what is undoubtedly one of the potentially-explosive encounters of the quarter-finals of the women’s competition.

The girls from Ikenne have been following in the footsteps of their men’s team (Remo Stars FC) in chasing for honours this season, with the men’s team also firmly in the hunt for a CAF Champions League spot as the NPFL season rounds off next Sunday.

The Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium is also the venue for the clash between Delta Queens and Sunshine Queens, while FC Robo Queens of Lagos and Naija Ratels of Abuja clash in another tantalizing match-up in Asaba.

The Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu – where Enugu Rangers emerged champions of this year’s NPFL season on Sunday – is venue for the clash between Osun Babes and Rivers Angels.

WOMEN’S QUARTER-FINAL FIXTURES

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  • Nasarawa Amazons (Nasarawa) Vs Remo Stars Ladies (Ogun) – Benin City – 19/06/24 – 4pm
  • Naija Ratels (FCT) Vs FC Robo Queens (Lagos) – Asaba – 19/06/24 – 4pm
  • Delta Queens (Delta) Vs Sunshine Queens (Ondo) – Benin City – 19/06/24 – 1pm           
  • Osun Babes (Osun) Vs Rivers Angels (Rivers) – Enugu – 19/06/24 – 4pm
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