Thursday, April 18, 2024

Bendel Insurance, Enugu Rangers In Federation Cup Trilogy

Flash Back! Bendel Insurance and Enugu Rangers first battled for the national cup in 1978

It is a trilogy as Enugu Rangers and Bendel Insurance meet for the third time in the title match of the Nigeria’s national football cup, the Federation Cup in Asaba on Wednesday.

The encounter at the Stephen Keshi Stadium is akin to tie-breaker for the two legacy clubsides who had contested the 1978 title as well as that of 1981.

Bendel Insurance, rejuvenated at the 1978 final came up with a band of talented footballers who took the final stage by storm, dispatching the then heavily feared Enugu Rangers by 3-0; thanks to  

Peter Eghareva free kick and a brace by Henry Ogboe.  

But Enugu Rangers had their pound of flesh in 1981 final match after goals from Humphrey Okechukwu and Ifeanyi Onyeadika propelled the coal city boys to a  2-0 win.

For Bendel Insurance, Wednesday encounter could be a thunder and blood battle. Just two weeks ago, they had the opportunity of picking ticket to any of the two continental inter-clubs via both the NPL play-off and the Federation Cup.

In the NPL play-off they missed out in the top three finish and even ended up as the bottom runners up.

Another opportunity looms to pick the second ticket to the CAF Confederation Cup.

Event at the Stephen Keshi Stadium will decide. The pitch already looks a fertile ground for Enugu Rangers who put up one of the most dramatic comeback episodes in the competition’s history in 2018.

They came back from three goals down to dramatically beat Kano Pillars to the title via penalty shoot-out. It was their first title since 1983 when coincidentally, they won through the first ever penalty shoot-out in the final match.

Can they do it again?

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