Kwara United, El Kanemi and Apa United win state Federation Cup titles

Elite division sides successfully defended the Federation Cup titles in Kwara and Borno but 2012 finalists Lobi Stars were not so lucky as they handed the trophy to NNL side

Kwara United have defended the Kwara State Federation Cup they won last year after edging their arch rivals ABS 1-0 in Ilorin on Saturday evening.

The fans that thronged the Kwara State Sports Complex for the final game were already warming up for penalty kicks to settle the differences between the two brothers at war before old war horse Okey Odita's 93rd minute strike handed victory to the Afonja Warriors. It was virtually the last kick of the game.

Before qualifying for the final, Kwara United defeated stubborn Kwara Football Academy 1-0 through the strike of Dimgba Stanley while ABS defeated Olutayo FC 2-1 through goals from Abdulrahman Bashir and Abubakar Yusuf.

Kwara United also won the competition last season by the same score line. Both clubs will represent Kwara State at the national Federation Cup which starts on a yet to be decided date by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

In Makurdi, National League side Apa United halted the reign of Lobi Stars after beating the elite division club 5-4 on penalties after regulation time had ended 1-1.

The cup holders got an early scare when Otukpo-based Apa United went on full blast in search of an early goal. They were however repelled by the alert John Lawrence in goal for Lobi Stars and the first half ended goalless.

Apa United picked up from where left it in the first half and their unrelenting work paid off when out of sort Lobi player, Paul Ikenna lost possession and he thus allowed rampaging John Jerome to exploit a seemingly fair play option to make his way pass the sea of legs in Lobi's vital area before slotting home beyond the reach of returning goalie Lawrence in the 58th minute.

The 2012 Federation Cup finalists however fought back gamely and they were rewarded with their own equaliser in the 80th minute through Chimaobi Nwaogu.

There was no goals thereafter and both clubs resorted to the lottery of penalty kicks and Apa United netted all their 5 spot kicks but Lobi Stars' Barnabas Imenger Jnr's stylishly played penalty kick was caught by Apa United goaltender, Edache Emmanuel.

Apa United won 5-4 on penalties and the club's goalkeeper, Edache Emmanuel was adjudged the man of the match for his heroics during the game.

In Borno, El Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri are the winners of the 2013 Federation Cup after a close 1-0 victory over pet club, El Kanemi Feeders in a tie decided at the El Kanemi Stadium on Saturday.

The head coach of the winning side, Zakari Baraje told Goal that his Feeders' team gave a good account of themselves and that they pinned down his wards and made victory so difficult for his side.

He expressed joy at the display of the team's reserve side and he affirmed that the boys have a future in the senior team.

"It was a tough encounter and we won through a goal we scored in the first half. The boys made the game to be very interesting and to some of them they will be given a look in by the senior team owing to their display against us today," Baraje said.

Elite division sides successfully defended the Federation Cup titles in Kwara and Borno but 2012 finalists Lobi Stars were not so lucky as they handed the trophy to a National League side