As it was in 2018, the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba will again host the final match Federation Cup this year on Thursday, 15th June 2023.
The day will begin with the women’s final, between Cup holders Bayelsa Queens and multi-titlists Rivers Angels, which is billed to commence at 2pm. The men’s final, between 1978 champions Bendel Insurance of Benin and multi-titlists Rangers International of Enugu, will kick off at 5pm.
Football administrators, promoters, stakeholders and fans are already looking forward to one of the best finals in both men’s and women’s versions, with Rivers Angels and Bayelsa Queens the two teams that have represented Nigeria in the nascent CAF Women’s Champions League competitions – which underscores their strength on the home front.
Bayelsa Queens are the defending champions of the competition, having overwhelmed FC Robo Queens of Lagos in the final of the 2021 competition at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.
The ingredients are there for a fierce contest in the men’s final, with Bendel Insurance and Enugu Rangers having contested two of the most memorable finals in the history of the men’s competition.
In what amounted to a stunning result that year, leaving bookmakers holding the short end of the stick, ‘Benin Arsenal’ dismantled the much-feared Enugu Rangers 3-0 in the 1978 final at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. Peter Egharevba scored the first goal through a long range free-kick that silenced the vociferous fans of the ‘Flying Antelopes’.
Three years down the line, Rangers exacted their revenge, with the peerless ‘Chairman’ Christian Chukwu leading the orchestra from the back as the all-white clad boys from Coal City won 2-0 with goals from Okwuchukwu Obiora and Ifeanyi Onyedika on a sunny afternoon.
Bendel Insurance have been in flaming form this season, unbeaten in the abridged Nigeria Premier Football League season and posting credible performances everywhere. Rangers International were on the back foot for the larger part of the first half of the season but picked up in the second stanza, and are sure to give their all in the final of a competition in which they love to soar.