Akwa United emerged 2014/15 Nigeria Federation Cup champions following a hard-nosed 2-1 victory over Lobi Stars at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos on Sunday.
The Promise Keepers made history by clinching their first title ever – with their closest attempt coming in 2013 – when they fell 2-1 to Warri Wolves in the semi-final of same competition.
Dead-ball specialist, Namso Edo, scored a sumptuous free kick nine minutes before the interval before Abdulafeez Afeez’s 69th minute screamer put the game beyond the reach of the Markudi-based side.
Nanen Imenger pulled a goal back for Lobi in the closing stages but it was a little too late to cause any upset.
The Federation Cup which is Nigeria’s own version of the FA Cup and oldest football competition, was won in 2014 by Enyimba FC.
Akwa duo, Afeez and Friday Ubong emerged the tournament’s Most Value Player and Top Scorer respectively.
Ubong was in fantastic form scoring six times en route to winning the trophy while Afeez was outstanding from the middle.
Meanwhile, triumphant coach, Zakary Baraje, has vowed to walk away if the club fails to strengthen the squad during the off-season.
“I won’t stay if they won’t buy players and keep the ones they have,” he told AfricaFootball.
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, disclosed during a recent parley with the players and crew of the club in Uyo that he had approved the release of N150million for the settlement of outstanding financial commitments and informed them that they have all it takes to make history stressing that “once the passion is right, nothing is impossible.”
The Governor charged them to strategise and play as a team to clinch the Federation Cup.“Ninety minutes of the game can change your life as your performance in the tournament would expose you to foreign clubs and stardom,” he advised.
With the victory, Akwa United will represent Nigeria in next season’s CAF Confederation Cup.