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Federation Cup: Rangers, Insurance, Queens, Angels Light Up Asaba

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The grand finale of this year’s NFF-TINGO Federation Cup men and women competitions will take place at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, with the Delta State capital all set for the two thrilling encounters on Wednesday.

In the men’s edition, Rangers International FC will face Bendel Insurance FC while Rivers Angels will challenge Bayelsa Queens in the women’s edition.

Rangers International Vs Bendel Insurance

In the men’s final, Rangers International of Enugu will take on Bendel Insurance of Benin by 5pm (WAT), at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.

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Bendel Insurance and Rangers International clashed in the final of the competition in 1978 and 1981 editions, with a win for each team.

Insurance will rather remember the 1978 final, which stunned fans who trooped to the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos that afternoon. Insurance’s only win in the competition previously was in 1972, when they needed a replay to defeat Sam Garba Okoye-inspired Mighty Jets to claim the title.

Bendel Insurance FC players in training.

On Wednesday in Asaba, Insurance will have the services of midfielder Divine Nwachukwu – one of only two outfield players from the NPFL who were part of the Super Eagles’ qualification for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations after a 3-2 win against Sierra Leone in Liberia on Sunday.

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Their opponents, Rangers FC, were the top team of the mid-70s in Nigeria as they won the oldest and most glamorous football championship consecutively in 1974, 1975 and 1976.

In 1977, Rangers International won the Africa Cup Winners Cup. So, it was a team riding on high waves.
Rangers International FC players in training.

Though they could not defend their title in 1977, losing to IICC Shooting Stars, the ‘Flying Antelopes’ were back in the final in 1978. the Coal City giants were beaten 3-0. However, they got their revenge in 1981, claiming a 2-0 defeat against the Benin Arsenal and returned the trophy back to Enugu.

Rangers are the clear favourites in this encounter, but the resilience of Bendel Insurance throughout the 2022/2023 season could spring another surprise in what promises to be another thrilling Federation Cup encounter, at the Stephen Keshi Stadium.

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Bayelsa Queens Vs Rivers Angels

On Wednesday, the best women teams in Nigeria will slug it out to decide the best of the best when Bayelsa Queens take on Rivers Angels at the Stephen Keshi Stadium by 2pm (WAT), before the men’s finale.

In the last Federation Cup final in 2018, Rivers Angels emerged victorious. The girls from Port Harcourt are riding on confidence from that history and are walking a few inches taller on the Asaba roads.

Rivers Angels players in training ahead of Federation Cup final clash.

Rivers Angels and Bayelsa Queens are the teams that have represented Nigeria in the relatively-new CAF Women’s Champions League competition, as a measure of their strength.

Bayelsa Queens also have history and are confident of victory. The last time there was a Federation Cup grand finale, they defeated FC Robo Queens of Lagos at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City to emerge champions.

Rivers Angels players in training ahead of Federation Cup final clash.

In fact, that day belonged to Bayelsa State as Bayelsa United also triumphed in the men’s final against Nasarawa United, winning 4-3 on penalties after the game was locked at 2-2 at the end of regulation time. That was in 2021.

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Both sides will slug it out for a chance to lift the coveted Federation Cup trophy in an ambience guaranteed to be enthralling and captivating.

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