Forward Nojeem Olukokun was one of the scorers for Nasarawa United in the victory which ensured their leadership spot in Group D and with a reward of staying in Aba for the quarter final.
2016 beaten finalists United finished top of the Aba zone of the group stage of this year’s AITEO Cup after a deserved 2-0 win over Akwa United.
Olukokun in a chat with www.aclsports.com admitted that the fear of traveling to play in the harsh Kano weather against winners of Group B, among other factors motivated his side to give their all in the final group game against Akwa United.
While their opponents on the day Akwa made eight changes to their side having already secured qualification, Nasarawa’s coach Kabiru Dogo stuck to his trusted lineup, a move which paid off eventually with goals from Olukokun and Isah Ndala.
“It was not an easy victory over Akwa so we thank God for it,” said Olukokun to www.aclsports.com
“Our plan was to stay in Aba because having spent a week already here, we have adapted to the weather and it is always hot at this time in Kano. So we are happy we made it.”
Nasarawa United ended the group with seven points in spite of a disappointing 0-0 draw with second division side Kogi United in the first game of the zone. Olukokun explains how his team overcame the stalemate.
“We reacted well from our first group match against Kogi United. They were no pushovers and have beaten an NPFL team before reaching this stage. Our coach has always told us not to underrate any team and things are working well for us ever since.”
Nasarawa United, also known as the Solid Miners will now face El-Kanemi Warriors in their quarter-final game at the Enyimba Stadium on Thursday, after the North Eastern side finished second of Group B in Kano. The former Shooting Stars forward believes they will be at advantage against Imama Amapakabo’s Warriors.
“Playing in Aba against El-Kanemi will be an advantage for us. As you can see, we have gained a lot of fans here so we want to continue like that.
“Getting to the final at least has always been our plan but everything is in God’s hands. We hope to be in the final and win the trophy by the grace of God,” added Olukokun.
While other quarter final games were held on Wednesday, matches involving Enyimba and Nasarawa United are rescheduled due to Enyimba’s involvement in the CAF Confederation Cup semi-final game in Aba.