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Federation Cup Finals: Rangers Battle Insurance for Men's Trophy; Bayelsa Queens Face Rivers Angels

June, 21 2023.

All four finalists, top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), officiating teams, supporters clubs of the teams and members of the sporting media, have all arrived Asaba, the capital of Delta State ahead of men and women finals of the 2023 NFF/Tingo Federation Cup, to be decided at the Stephen Keshi Memorial Stadium.

In the build up to the finals, all four teams - Bendel Insurance of Benin, Enugu Rangers, Rivers Angels and Bayelsa Queens took their turns to have a feel of the turf. Kick-off of the women's final is confirmed for 2pm, while the men's final is scheduled to get underway from 5pm.

Bendel Insurance arrived in Asaba on Monday and held a training session, during which they welcomed back to their fold, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the recently concluded NPFL Super Six, Divine Nwachukwu who was in the Super Eagles squad that defeated the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone 3-2 in Monrovia, in an Afcon 2023 Day-5 qualifier on Sunday.

Notably, Wednesday's meeting will be the third time Insurance, winners in 1972, 1978 and 1980 will be playing against Rangers (sixth time winner) in the final of the cup, which began in 1945 as Governor's Cup, before it was renamed National Challenge Cup and much later, Federation Cup.

While a Henry Ogboe inspired Insurance thrashed Rangers 3-0 in the 1978 final, one of the classics of the Challenge Cup, the Flying Antelopes avenged the humiliating defeat by beating the Benin Arsenal 2-0 in the 1981 final, reports.

The last time Rangers played in the final of the Cup, was in Asaba (2018), when coach Gbenga "de Oracle" Ogunbote steered them to a spectacular comeback, from 0-3 down to draw 3-3 with Kano Pillars, and went on to win the trophy after a shootout.

Bendel Insurance remain unbeaten in the Federation Cup, but despite starting the NPFL season like a house on fire, and stretching their unbeaten run in the league to 21, they suffered defeats to Rivers United (2-1) and Remo Stars (1-0) in their last two matches, at the just concluded NPFL play-offs in Lagos.

The Benin Arsenal will surely need to find inspiration somehow, ahead of the final, same for Rangers who are also unbeaten in the Federation Cup, but had a season to forget in the league and was at a time drifting towards the relegation waters.

However, as former six-time winners, they are in familiar territory and like Insurance, they are fully aware that the winner on June 21, 2023 will not only be crowned Federation Cup kings, they will also become Nigeria's first entrant to next season's CAF Confederation Cup.

The women's final will feature the holders, Bayelsa Queens of Yenagoa, who just lost their NWFL Premiership title to Delta Queens of Asaba, and they will slug it out with serial-winners (8), Rivers Angels of Port Harcourt.

Below are the names of the Match Officials for both finals:

Women's Final

Martina Apie (CRS) - MC

Yemisi Akintoye (LOS) Ref.

Mfon Friday (AKW) - AR 1

Beauty Terah (FCT) - AR 2

Ndidi Madu (ENG) - 4th Ref

Indo Maryam (BAU) - Ref. Assessor

Men's Final

Salisu Musa (BOR) - MC

Adebimpe Quadri (LOS) - Ref

Mohammed Y. Mahmoud (BAU) - AR 1

Ahmed Mohammed (KAT) - AR 2

Grema Mohammed (BOR) - 4th Ref.

Nasiru Ibrahim (KAN) - Ref. Assessor

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