Bayelsa State Teams Dominate AITEO Cup Finale
For the first time in the history of Nigeria’s Cup competitions, one State claimed both the women and men titles as Nigeria National League side, Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens were crowned champions of the 2021 AITEO Cup competition at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin city, Edo state.
The teams ignored the rain to play breathtaking football and the epic battles produced 10 goals to the delight of football officials, state dignitaries, and spectators.
Bayelsa Queens’ striker, Mary Anjor set the ball rolling for a fruitful day for the ‘Glory of all Lands’ when she poked in her eighth goal of the competition in the 15th minute of the women’s final to put her team ahead. FC Robo’s captain, Gift Monday didn’t waste time to respond four minutes later, but Juliet Sunday (37th minute) and Peace Efih (43rd minute) made sure the girls from Yenagoa held a comfortable lead going into the break.
When play resumed in the second half, Habibat Akinwande pulled one back for the girls from Lagos in the 65th minute, but substitute Joy Bokiri made the game safe with a spectacular fourth goal from a free-kick 22 yards out.
In the men’s final, with the fine run of Bayelsa United to the final, Nigeria Professional Football League side Nasarawa United had no reason to be complacent. The NNL team is coached by former international Dipreye Teibowei and they stunned Rangers International, Lobi Stars, and Rivers United on their way to the final.
Bayelsa United confirmed they mean business when Inikurogha Okardi smashed in from the right in the 19th minute. The loud ovation that greeted the goal was still on when Chinedu Ohanachom sent a pile driver past goalkeeper John Shaibu for the leveler.
Aliyu Abdullahi shot the Solid Miners in front in the 26th minute, but 10 minutes later, Emo James rose highest in the box to nod home a sweet equalizer for the Bayelsa boys.
The second period was a tight and tense affair that however produced no goal. In the penalty shootout, the boys from Bayelsa prevailed 4-3 to claim their first-ever national silverware.
Bayelsa United pocketed the sum of N25million for their triumph, with Nasarawa United earning N10million. Bayelsa Queens also secured N10million while FC Robo Queens returned to Lagos with N5million.
Bayelsa Queens’ Mary Anjor emerged the Top Scorer of the women’s competition and also claimed the Most Valuable Player award. In the men’s competition, the Top Scorer award went to Gafaar Olafimihan of 3SC while Nasarawa United goalkeeper Mohammed Galadima claimed the Most Valuable Player award.