THE finals of both the men’s and women’s Federation Cup will be held at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba tomorrow.
Bendel Insurance of Benin City will take on traditional rivals Rangers of Enugu in the men’s final, while two of Nigeria’s most successful women’s clubs in recent years, Bayelsa Queens and Rivers Angels will do battle in the women’s decider.
The last time the women’s final was held in Asaba, the Delta State capital, in 2018, Rivers Angels won the trophy and will be hoping for a repeat tomorrow.
Their opponents Bayelsa Queens have also claimed the trophy before, winning the last edition by beating FC Robo of Lagos in the final in Benin City.
Interestingly, Bayelsa Queens and Rivers Angels are the only teams that have represented Nigeria in the relatively new CAF Women’s Champions League competition, which means they are of similar strength ahead of tomorrow’s final which kicks off at 2pm.
In the men’s final, multi-times winners Rangers International of Enugu will take on 1978 winners Bendel Insurance of Benin from 5pm tomorrow at the stadium named in honour of one of Nigeria’s biggest football heroes.
Bendel Insurance and Rangers International clashed in the final of the competition in 1978 and 1981, with a win for each team, and both will be keen to claim the bragging rights this time.
Insurance are coming off a disappointing end to a Nigeria Premier Football League campaign that started brilliantly but ended in a whimper.
The Edo Gunners had gone through the entire abridged season unbeaten in 18 games and topped Group A ahead of Remo Stars and eventual champions Enyimba.
They however fell short in the championship play-offs, failing to win any of their five matches, drawing the first three and losing the final two to miss out on both the title and continental spots.
Rangers had an inconsistent NPFL campaign and once flirted with relegation before staying safe, but well off the play-off places.
This final is the moment of redemption for both teams, with them hoping to end their campaigns in triumph.