June, 25 2023.
The Zonal Playoffs of the Naija Super 8 season ending tournament, which began on Friday with all matches played at the remodeled Akwa Ibom Stadium in Eket, ended on Sunday with three of the four teams billed to represent the country in next season's CAF Inter-Club Championships, qualifying from their regions.
On Saturday, reigning Nigeria Premier Football League Champions, Enyimba edged the Oriental derby against Heartland of Owerri 1-0 to claim the ticket for South-East and joined the duo of Remo Stars (South-West) and Lobi Stars of Makurdi (North-Central) who punched their tickets on Friday.
The trio above were joined by dethroned NPFL Champions, Rivers United of Port Harcourt who on Sunday defeated Federation Cup kings, Bendel Insurance of Benin in the South-South playoff on Sunday, to become the fourth team that competed at the NPFL Super 6 to qualify for the Super 8, also billed for Lagos.
Remarkably, two teams from the lower division, the Nigeria National League (NNL), Yobe Desert Stars and Katsina United defied permutations by pundits to book their tickets for the Naija Super 8 tournament, to be staged at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Onikan, Lagos.
The Stars from Damaturu shocked 10-Man Gombe United (an NPFL side) 2-1 in the North-East playoff on Saturday, while Katsina United edged the Arewa derby against Kano Pillars 1-0 on Sunday, to pocket the sole ticket for the North-West.
Samson Olasofo scored the winner in the 84th minute, for Katsina United against their more illustrious and arch rivals, Kano Pillars, while Liberian winger Albert Korvah scored a brace, to help Rivers United out-score Bendel Insurance 3-2, with Babatunde Ogungbe scoring in stoppage time to hand Stanley Eguma's side the South-South ticket.
Meanwhile, all eyes are now focused on the organizers of the Super 8, who are to announce the two sides given wild-cards to make up the number for the tournament billed to kick-off in Lagos on July 7th, 2023 www.ckdmedia.ng reports.