Two of the remaining traditional teams in Nigerian football, Rangers International and Bendel Insurance will rekindle old rivalry in the final of this year’s Federation Cup after both sides edged tight semi-final games on Thursday.
Playing at the Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu-Ode, Rangers International left it late in a very cagey contest against Plateau United – former side of current Rangers head coach Abdu Maikaba – with Godwin Obaje netting the winner from the penalty spot in the 90th minute.
The win meant that Maikaba qualifies a team for the Cup final for the second time in six years – after winning the title with Akwa United in 2017 – while Rangers also have a chance to win after their dramatic success in 2018.
OFFICIAL:— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) June 1, 2023
Rangers International and Bendel Insurance will contest the 2023 Nigerian Cup final after both teams beat Plateau United and Warri Wolves respectively on Thursday.
Godwin Obaje with a 90th minute winner for Rangers (video) while Insurance won 3-2 on penalties. pic.twitter.com/qgbDhC73B6
Standing in-between Rangers and the cup title is Bendel Insurance who defeated Warri Wolves in an Old Bendel Derby at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos, in a game watched by former NFF President Amaju Pinnick.
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Full time ended scoreless but the Monday Odigie-led Insurance won on penalties 3-2 after Warri Wolves captain Ekene Olisema saw his spot kick denied by the post before Insurance goalkeeper Amas Obasogie saved his opposite number Joke Elvis’ take to send the Benin Arsenals into the last four.
Victory meant that Bendel Insurance remain unbeaten in all competitions this season, a run that now stretches to eighteen league games and five Cup matches.
The Rangers vs Insurance final will be a repeat of the 1981 final which Rangers won 2-0. Insurance have not won the Cup since then. This year’s final is expected to be decided on the weekend of 18th June at a venue to be announced later.
Yesssssss!— Calvin 'Emeka Onwuka (@CalvinEmeka) June 1, 2023
A repeat of the 1981 Final when we beat Insurance 2-zod in Lagos to complete the League and Cup double.
Okwuchukwu Obiora and Ifeanyichukwu Onyedika, the scorers that hot afternoon.
I was floating all weekend. https://t.co/rKVJMVS9aK
Bendel Insurance will now turn their attention to the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) Super Six PlayOff which begins in Lagos on Saturday. They will come up against Rivers United, Enyimba, Lobi Stars, Remo Stars and Sunshine Stars.