Abia’s giant killers, Ahudiya Nnem, draw Bendel Insurance in FA Cup round of 32
• Plateau United to meet winner of Rivers United/Enyimba tie
New kid on the block, Ahudiya Nnem FC of Abia State, will face their biggest challenge, yet, in their sojourn in Nigerian football when they clash with high-riding Bendel Insurance of Benin in the round of 32 of the FA Cup.
Amateur side, Ahudiya Nnem, beat Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL) club, Abia Warriors, to qualify for the final of the state’s FA Cup, where they lost narrowly to Enyimba. And not done with their giant-killing mission in Abia State, the Abiriba-based team went national, where they beat Nigerian National League (NNL) team, Jigawa Golden Stars, 1-0.
Against an Insurance team that have not lost any game this season, Ahudiya Nnem have their job cut out: Win and become the new Cinderella side of Nigerian football.
The last time Nigeria had such an enthralling ride in the former Challenge Cup was in 1999 when some starry-eyed boys from Owerri, known as Arugo Boys, played up to the semifinal of that year’s competition.
And to get to that point, or even the final last achieved by Ilorin-based amateur side, Alyufsalam Rocks, who lost to Enugu Rangers in the 1976 edition, Ahudiya Nnem must beat Bendel Insurance, who won Abubakar Saraki FC of Ilorin by 1-0 at the Onikan Waterside in the last round.
The match comes up on Wednesday, next week in Calabar.
Other round of 32 games are Heartland FC (Imo) versus Essien Ayi FC (Cross River) in Awka, Standard FC (Kaduna) against Sunshine Stars (Ondo) in Lokoja, Abuja’s EFCC versus Akwa United in Awka and Warri Wolves (Delta) against 3SC (Oyo) in Owerri.
Also billed for Wednesday, next week, are Mighty Jets (Plateau) against Gombe United (Gombe) in Kano, Osun United (Osun) versus Insurance Feeders (Edo) in Lagos and Cynosure FC (Ebonyi) against Lobi Stars of Makurdi in Abuja.
The match of the round will see Plateau United battling with either Rivers United or record titleholders, Enyimba of Aba on a day to be decided by the Nigeria Football Federation.