By John Egbokhan
Akwa United are the 2017 AITEO Cup champions. All thanks to a 3-2 sudden death penalty victory over Niger Tornadoes at Agege Stadium in Lagos. Result after regulation time was goalless.
In a very poor match, seen by CAF President, Ahmad, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel and President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, both teams failed to produce the usual flashpoints and dramatic moments that used to be the ingredients of the oldest football competition in the country.
It was a very poor display from both teams, about the poorest FA Cup final ever seen in recent times but it was striker Okechukwu Gabriel, who had missed two clear chances in the last 20 minutes of the match, who had the last laugh to send his team into cloud nine. He sent his spot kick down the line, beating Mustapha Aliko in goal for Tornadoes.
With penalty scores tied at 2-2 after the first 10 penalty kicks, Tornadoes lost their next penalty while Gabriel scored for Akwa United, much to the relief of Coach Abdu Maikaba.
For their effort, Akwa United got a winner cheque of N25m, N22m more than what was given last year, all thanks to AITEO, who also gave them a brand new giant trophy. And the boys frorm Akwa United are also beneficiaries of a ticket to represent Nigeria in next season’s CAF Confederation Cup.