All is now set for this year’s Federation Cup final between Bendel Insurance and Rangers International in Asaba on Wednesday, www.aclsports.com reports.
The two sides sealed their spots in the final earlier this month after passing stern tests in a tight schedule. The final, which was earlier scheduled to hold on June 18 was subsequently shifted to tomorrow, June 21 following Bendel Insurance’s involvement in the NPFL Championship playoff in Lagos.
The Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Delta State is the venue of this final showpiece and this is the second time the Federation Cup final will be played in the Big Heart State since Rangers’ epic comeback win over Kano Pillars in 2018.
Road to final
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29 Hours before the @thenff 2023 Federation Cup Final.
Adaaaaaaaa BENDEL! pic.twitter.com/gM5b3gzuuA
— Bendel Insurance FC Official (@BendelInsurance) June 20, 2023
Just like they did in the regular season of the NPFL, Insurance were solid in their Federation Cup games and stingy in defense. They did not concede a single goal to seal an appearance in the final. Four consecutive 1-0 wins over ABS FC, Ahudiya FC, former champions Heartland FC and Sunshine Stars help set up a semi-final meeting with 2013 losing finalists Warri Wolves. On that occasion, they needed a penalty shootout to beat the Seasiders in a highly competitive semi-final in Lagos.
Rangers International and Bendel Insurance will contest the 2023 Nigerian Cup final after both teams beat Plateau United and Warri Wolves respectively on Thursday.
Godwin Obaje with a 90th minute winner for Rangers (video) while Insurance won 3-2 on penalties. pic.twitter.com/qgbDhC73B6
— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) June 1, 2023
As for Rangers International, the road was not that rosy. Apart from Adamawa United which failed to show up for their round 64 clash, they defeated Kano Pillars 2-0 in Abuja, before comfortably beating FC Ebedei 3-1 in the round of 16. The following two matchups were against NPFL sides, Doma United and Plateau United, which they won 1-0 respectively.
Records to be set
This year’s final match between the traditional sides will be the third time they will be meeting. The previous two have ended in a win apiece, as the ‘Flying Antelopes’ will be hoping to record their seventh cup win while Insurance will be chasing a 4th win.
The last time they met – 1981 final – Rangers won 2-0 and Insurance have not achieved any success in the National Cup since then.
As for the coaches, Rangers’ Abdu Maikaba tasted success with Akwa United in 2017, while his Insurance counterpart – Monday Odigie – is yet to win this competition although he won the league back in 2009 with Bayelsa United.
Players to watch
A Hero’s welcome for Bendel Insurance midfielder Divine Nwachukwu after his involvement with the Super Eagles in preparations for that crucial AFCON qualifying fixture against Sierra Leone.#9jaFootballers #SuperEagles pic.twitter.com/css1Vcxrfk
— Naijafootballers (@9ja_footballers) June 19, 2023
Ismael Sarki has stepped things up for the Benin Arsenals in this competition scoring two of their four goals. On the other hand, Imade Osarenkhoe who started the league season on fire has been a shadow of himself lately. Meanwhile, midfielder Divine Nwachukwu, fresh from the Super Eagles camp, will be keen to extend his scoring run from the NPFL Playoffs in this final.
On the other hand, rising youngster Austin Onyemaechi, who spoke about ending the season on a high, has been impressive in Rangers’ cup run. He scored against FC Ebedei in the round of 16 and has been excellent in midfield. Godwin Obaje is another player who has come up with the goods for the Flying Antelopes. He scored both goals against former winners Kano Pillars in the round of 32 and also scored the winner against Plateau United in the semi-final.
Wednesday’s match billed for the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Delta State has been slated to start at 5pm.
HOW TO WATCH
The game will be broadcast by the Cable TV station SuperSport and will also be available for online viewers on Bendel Insurance’s Youtube channel.