Both Lobi Stars of Makurdi and Akwa United will be hoping to snap up this year’s Federation Cup from last year’s winners and current league champions, Enyimba Int’l and possibly redeem their image as 2015 football season finally winds down when they face each other in tomorrow’s final showdown slated to take place at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.
Between the two finalists, Lobi Stars, former Cup winners, appear to have the advantage based on their pedigree after featuring in three final between 2003 and 2013. While Lobi became 2003 champions after defeating Sharks 2-0, they failed to ultimately win two years later against Enyimba in a penalty shoot-out.
Again, in 2012 Lobi could not go pass Heartland on the FA Cup final.
After escaping league relegation this season, no-title Akwa United, whose morale was boasted by Governor Emmanuel Udom, are aiming to pick up FA Cup title at the detriment of Lobi who could be wary of repeated history. A final day season match against same Lobi in Uyo will equally boost Akwa’s chances.
Udom, who addressed the players before they left Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom state to Lagos assured “I will be in Lagos personally to witness the game and also lift the cup with the team at the end of 90 minutes. We will mobilise as many fans as we can to the stadium to cheer you to victory.”
For Lobi Stars head coach, Justin Tenger his side will not miss the podium dance in the Federation Cup final clash.
According to him, “Lobi Stars are fully prepared to pick up the Caf Confederation Cup slot at the expense of Akwa United on Sunday in Lagos.
“We ruefully lost the ticket to Africa in the league drawing eight home matches which if we had won the games would have been league champions instead of Enyimba. However, God in his infinite mercy gave us another opportunity, which is the Federation Cup; we will not toy with the chance but must grab it firmly with both hands.
In the build up to the final, Akwa United have had an unprecedented run to this year’s final, hammering Dallatu United 6-0 and trouncing Peacemakers 3-1, before edging Prime FC, Niger Tornadoes Feeders and Nasarawa United in the latter stages.
On his part, Lobi Stars showed maturity and diligence in dispatching five –time champions Enugu Rangers in a bad –tempered semi-final in Katsina, and would prefer to look back at close calls against Niger Tornadoes, Remo Stars and BJ Foundation as confirmation that this must be their year of glory.
Ahead of the titanic clash, many football stakeholders have continued to wonder why once revered federation cup has suddenly lost glamour due to lack of sponsorship.
For instance, between 1999 and 2008, Coca Cola Company shouldered the responsibility of sponsoring the longest football competition in Nigeria. The main football single-elimination tournament debuted in 1942 as War Memorial Challenge Cup before it dovetailed to Governors’ Cup in 1945.
“We have been doing our best. Getting sponsorship is not easy in any way. We are not resting. We will continue to push,” General Secretary Nigeria Football Federation, NFF Dr. Sanusi Mohammed stated.

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