Insurance Football Club of Benin on Wednesday confirmed their long sought return to the top flight of the Nigerian league after an 11-year exile following a 1-0 win over arch-rivals Shooting Stars in their final group game at the NNL Super Eight tournament going on in Aba.
Charles Omokaro, an Insurance legend and a member of the side when they relegated from the Premier League in 2008 scored the game’s only goal in the tenth minute of play, a brilliant curling effort into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
Insurance were made to sweat for victory though, especially after star winger Michael Enaruna was sent off for two bookable offences eighteen minutes from time. The Monday Odigie-tutored side still hung on to the lead to record nine maximum points and three clean sheets from their three group games.
FT: Shooting Stars 0-1 Insurance
The Benin Arsenals have promoted to the @LMCNPFL. The man who was the team's topscorer when they relegated in 2008, Charles Omokaro scored the only goal over ten years later to make it happen. #NNLSuper8 #YourSportsMemo
— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) January 9, 2019
Insurance were joined by another side making a return to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) albeit after a year in the second division, Remo Stars. Fatai Osho-led Remo defeated bottom of the table Delta Force 2-1 in the last game of the group stage.
Left-back Idris Aloma, making his first appearance of the tournament gave Remo Stars the lead in the 20th minute but Force equalised in the 40th from a penalty converted by defender Osita Egbo after Obinna Awara was upended inside the box.
The Sky Blues sealed victory through star striker Victor Mbaoma who glided home Mustapha Gbolahan’s square pass for his first and only goal of the competition. Remo Stars’ victory took them to six points from their three group games and finished second behind Insurance in the Southern Zone.
Insurance FC will now face Kada City in Thursday’s final to determine who lifts the 2018 NNL Super Eight Playoffs.
Fisayo Dairo reporting from Aba