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Federation Cup: Warriors Clash For Men’s Title In Lagos

The final matches of the 2024 President Federation Cup will take centre stage at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos, on Saturday (today) as former winners El-Kanemi Warriors take on Abia Warriors in the men’s final while the women’s game will see Naija Ratels trade tackles with eight-time champions Rivers Angel.

In the women’s final which will precede the men’s event, Rivers Angels are seeking a record-extending ninth title as well as their first title since 2018 against Naija Ratels, who are competing in their first final.

Head coach of Rivers Angels Whyte Ogbonda lost two finals with Ibom Angels against his current side in 2017 and 2018, and he hopes to achieve his first FA Cup title as a consolation for failing to win the Nigeria Women Football League title.

“Yes, Rivers Angels have always reached the women’s final of the Cup, and here we are again. Our target is to lift the trophy and bring it back to Rivers State, having lost the opportunity to win the league. As a team, we are indebted to the Rivers State government for bringing back the trophy. That is the only way we can show appreciation for the government’s huge investment in the team.”

National women’s U-17 coach, Bankole Olowokeere, who is in charge of Naija Ratels admits his side are underdogs in the contest but believes the Abuja club will make history in Lagos.

“For sure, we are the distinct underdogs against Rivers Angels that have won this trophy eight times before now. But no team is unbeatable. We have a plan and a strategy to emerge champions on Saturday. We want to do this for our proprietor and for our supporters who have been with us through victory and defeat, through thick and thin. I can assure you that Naija Ratels are determined to make history.”

Aside from the title, the men’s final has more to offer – a CAF Confederation Cup ticket.

After overcoming a somewhat difficult season in the league, Abia Warriors were the first team to arrive in Lagos ahead of the final.

Beating Kano Pillars on penalties in the semi-finals has boosted Abia Warriors’ image as favourites for the title and the last continental ticket against two-time champions El-Kanemi Warriors who also needed penalties to beat Kebbi United in the other semi-final.

Abia Warriors coach Bethel Orji has no doubt that the Umuahia side will come good in the final.

“We are here and we’re highly motivated. We are all elated. I thank God for the turnaround in the fortunes of the team, and I am delighted to be playing my first Cup final as a coach,” Orji told thenff.com in Lagos on Wednesday.

El-Kanemi Warriors aren’t lacking motivation as well, having just secured promotion back to the NPFL after a season in the second division.

“I commend the players for not only ensuring promotion back to the top flight but also reaching the President Federation Cup final. Yet, it is not over until it is over. We are here and we are determined to wrest the title,” El-Kanemi coach Aliyu Zubairu said.

The last time Lagos hosted the final of the oldest competition in the country was in 2017 at the Agege Township Stadium.

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