Nigeria Professional Football League side Akwa United FC and Nigeria National League outfit Akwa Starlets will represent Akwa Ibom state in this year’s Federation Cup competition after winning their respective semifinal matches on Friday.
In the first semifinal match played at the training pitch of the Godswill Akpabio International stadium in Uyo, NPFL campaigners Akwa United needed a penalty shootout to beat Nationwide league side Ibom Youth FC 3-1 after 1-1 draw in regulation time.
Akwa United’s top scorer Alhassan Ibrahim came off the bench to put the Promise Keepers ahead when he tapped in Christian Pyagbara’s inch-perfect cross into the net in the 73rd minute
Ibom Youth FC leveled the scores in the 84th minute through Kuyak Ime to forced the game into penalty shootout.
Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Aremu Afeez and Christian Pyagbara all scored, while Amaechi Orji missed his spot kick.
Goalkeeper Emmanuel Iwu saved Ibom Youth’s first spot kick, before the Nationwide league side went on to miss two more kicks and got knocked out 3-1 by the 2015 Federation Cup Champions.
Speaking after the match, Coach Abdu Maikaba said he was excited to see his team qualify for the Federation Cup and maintained that he is fully focused in winning his first trophy for Akwa United.
” I am very happy with the outcome of the match. There are no more small teams in football, especially in knockout games like the FA Cup. Ibom Youth gave their best but we are excited that we won”.
” We score first, they equalised, it was a match that could have gone either way. The lottery of penalty shootout is no respecter of any team”.
” Now our target is to win the state’s FA Cup and also set our sight on winning it at the national level” said Maikaba.
In the second semifinal, Oliver Udoh scored the only goal of the match in the second half to help Akwa Starlets beat Non-league side Hills FC 1-0 at the Uyo township stadium to progressed to final.
Seven time champions Akwa United will engage two time champions Akwa Starlets in what will be a repeat of last year’s final on Sunday May 7th 2017.