Privately owned Kada City on Thursday defeated Bendel Insurance 4-3 on penalties to emerge champions of the Nigeria National League (NNL) Super Eight competition in Aba and in turn the overall winners of the NNL.
Both teams topped their groups in the round robin group stage of the competition en route to qualifying for the 2018/19 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and were made to face in the ceremonious final at the Enyimba Stadium, which has hosted the five-day competition.
Insurance with a much changed lineup took the lead when Emmanuel Uangboje capitalised on a backward header by Kada left back Umar Mohammed to chip the ball over the onrushing Sunday Okoh and into the net.
Kada City however drew level just before half time when Kabiru Sanusi finished a move he started. The ageless striker spread the ball wide for right back Solomon Kantoma who crossed to the far post for Sadiq Suleiman. The lanky forward flicked the cross back to Sanusi who had continued his movement into the box before cheating and volleying to the top corner.
Chances were few in the second half and Insurance sent on their hero on Wednesday Charles Omokaro on the hour mark as they sought to find a winning goal. Ironically however, Omokaro turned villain during the ensuing penalty shoot-out after his kick cannoned off the foot of the post.
Insurance goalscorer Uangboje fired Insurance’s first spot kick wide but Nura Mohammed missed Kada’s third to bring both teams on level terms. After Shola Collins had neatly converted Kada’s fifth, Omokaro then stylishly missed to hand Kada City the title.
Both teams will be joined in the top flight of Nigerian football by Gombe United and Remo Stars who finished second in the groups.
Pics: Adepoju Tobi @OgaNlaMedia
Fisayo Dairo, reporting from Aba