Fireworks in Lokoja, Aba, Kaduna as Aiteo Cup round of 16 games begin
The Round of 16 matches of the men’s section of this year’s AITEO Cup
competition will come alive today with potentially explosive encounters at the Confluence Stadium in Lokoja, Enyimba Stadium in Aba and Kaduna’s Ahmadu Bello Stadium.
It will surely be a fight-to-finish in Lokoja when respected Tin City lords, Plateau United take the pitch against in-form Nasarawa United from Lafia.
Plateau United, last winners of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), pushed Jigawa Golden Stars off the boat in the last round while the Solid Miners got the better of Bendel Insurance.
In Kaduna, it is a northern derby between Katsina United – in the NPFL – and Gombe United, accustomed to the NPFL but currently in the second tier Nigeria National League. Both teams go for each other’s jugular at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium to determine who grabs the ticket to the quarterfinals.
The Enyimba Stadium in Aba will welcome Heartland FC of Owerri and resurgent Rivers United in a game of two NPFL battlers. Rivers United are eyeing success in this year’s NPFL but they have a mountain to climb with Akwa United, Enyimba FC, Kano Pillars and Nasarawa United all focused and angling for the diadem.
United may simply opt to concentrate more on the AITEO Cup.
The Pride of Rivers bumped Sokoto United in the Round of 32 while Heartland upended the ambitions of Ekiti United.
In Abuja, surprise packets Green Beret FC, who closed the door on NPFL side, Warri Wolves, are up against another top tier side, Sunshine Stars. Abia Warriors and Niger Tornadoes have a date at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi, and Lobi Stars will fancy their chances of a quarterfinal place when they tackle Bayelsa United at Owerri’s Dan Anyiam Stadium.
The Nnamzi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, is venue for the confrontation between Wikki Tourists of Bauchi and Gateway FC of Abeokuta, while former champions, Kano Pillars, and another surprise side, Kebbi United (who gunned down Kwara United in the Round of 32), will lock horns at the Bako Kontagora Stadium in Minna.
All matches kick off at 3pm.