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AITEO Cup: Quality of play should be better next year, Akanni says

Lagos – Ex-international Waidi Akanni on Tuesday in Lagos said the quality of football in subsequent editions of the AITEO Cup final match should be an improvement upon that of 2017.

FA Cup Champions, Akwa United FC celebrating after winning in Lagos on Sunday (15/10/17). Akwa United defeated Niger Tornadoes FC 3-2 on penalties.

The 2017 AITEO Cup final match at the Agege Stadium in Lagos on Sunday was seen by many not to be worthy of a Cup final, in spite of the hype.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the match ended in a penalty shootout, after Akwa United of Uyo and Niger Tornadoes of Minna had battled to a goalless draw.

The former midfielder told NAN that even though the two teams performed to the best of their abilities, much more than that had been expected from them by their fans.

NAN reports that Akwa United FC defeated Niger Tornadoes FC 3-2 after six penalty kicks each in the final match of the oldest football competition in the country.

“From what I saw, the final match wasn’t entertaining, and the elements that make up a final (match) were absent.

“I want to believe that next year it will be better. The stake is high now, considering the prize money at stake, and so many teams will jostle to get to the finals.

“By next year, the quality of play would have improved tremendously. This year wasn’t exciting. There was nothing captivating about it,’’ Akanni said.

The former Chairman of Lagos State Football Association added that the emergence of a new title sponsor for the competition would further raise the bar.

“Money has always been a good form of motivation. So, with the huge amount given to the winners and the first runners-up, next year’s competition will be tough.

“The quality of play will be determined by the do-or-die spirit. I am sure next year’s finalists will strive to perform better to win the N25 million prize,’’Akanni said.(NAN)

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