The club in Yenagoa has become the first team from the second division to lift the coveted trophy since the performance of Dolphins FC 20 years ago
The Nigerian club in the National League, Bayelsa United, won the Aiteo Cup in 2021 after defeating NPFL team Nasarawa United with a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw at the end of extra time.
After almost missing out on qualifying for next season’s continental competitions in the league, Nasarawa United – who finished fourth in the Nigerian top table – turned their attention to Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on Sunday.
However, the Solid Miners could not overcome Bayelsa United who achieved the last qualifying ticket for next season’s Caf Confederation Cup with a 4-3 victory in the penalty shootout.
It was an interesting first 45 minutes in Benin, as both teams found the back of the net twice before half-time.
The Yenagoa outfit opened the scoring by Inikurogha Okardi in the 19th minute. The lead did not last long, as Nasarawa responded within seconds by the equalizer of Chinedu Ohanachom.
At half-time, Aliyu Abdullahi called Silas Nwankwo to put the Solid Miners ahead with their second goal, but in the 36th minute Bayelsa United responded with their equalizer.
It ended 2-2 in the first half and both sides struggled to reach the goal after the restart and in the extra time before the encounter a shootout.
Bayelsa United is the second NNL club to win the Federation Cup after the disabled Dolphins defeated FC El-Kanemi Warriors 2-0 in 2001.
Their success ensured their prize money of 25 million naira, while Nasarawa United will receive 10 million naira to finish as runner-up.
Before the clash in Benin, the last four Aiteo Cup finals ended with penalty goals, with Kano Pillars winning the immediate previous edition in 2019 after playing a goalless draw with Niger Tornadoes.
Sunday’s celebration was not just for the men’s team, as Bayelsa Queens also won the women’s title and a $ 10 million cash prize.
The Queens defeated FC Robo 4-2 in the same spot in Edo State before their men fought to their victory after 120 minutes of football.
Mary Anjor of Bayelsa Queens was the top scorer of the women’s competition and also won the award for the most valuable player. In the men’s competition, the top points award went to Gafaar Olafimihan of 3SC, while Nasarawa United’s goalkeeper Mohammed Galadima won the award for the most valuable player.