Akwa United won its first major title on Sunday after beating Lobi Stars 2-1 to emerge the new champions of Nigeria’s Federations (FA) Cup.
The Akwa Ibom State football club which barely escaped relegation from the Globacom Premier League by whiskers took home the prize after a spirited battle against their Makurdi based opponent at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.
Goals from Namso Edo and Abdullafeez Afeez in each half of the game was all that the Uyo-based club needed to secure its first Federation Cup title and pick the remaining CAF Confederations Cup ticket. Although Nanem Barnabas Imenger pulled one goal back to spark a late survival bid for Lobi, Akwa United held on to the lead to emerge the latest cup champions.
Before Sunday’s triumph, Akwa United’s biggest feat in Nigeria’s oldest football competition was in 2013 when they were defeated in the semi-final by Warri Wolves 1-2.
However, the Zachary Baraje Boys showed from the blast of the whistle that they were in Lagos to take the trophy back to Uyo.
To make it to the final and win the historic title, Akwa United started by cruising past Peacemakers FC in the round of 32 before they edged second tier side, Prime FC 1-0 in the next phase.
It was, however, a tougher duel in the quarter finals where Akwa United edged out Niger Tornadoes Feeders but that was after they were held to a 2-2 draw in 90 minutes before triumphing 4-3 on penalties to reach their second semi-final.
In the semi-final, Aniekpeno Udoh was the hero as his solitary strike was enough to help Akwa United edge out Nasarawa United 1-0 at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta.
Having struggled in the League last term, the Promise Keepers will now have to brace up for a tougher challenge of playing both in the domestic league and vying for continental title- CAF Confederation Cup, next season.
By Olisemeka Obeche