By ‘Tana Aiyejina.
Little-known Igbajo United, a community-funded amateur side from Osun State, on Wednesday caused a major upset in this season’s FA Cup, when they sent 2002 finalists Yobe Desert Stars packing in the round of 64.
Igbajo United lost 2-1 to Osun United in the Osun FA Cup final, to qualify for the round of 64 of Nigeria’s oldest football competition.
Charged on by their huge fan-base, the minnows held the favourites 1-1 in 90 minutes of explosive football at the FIFA Goal Project pitch in Abuja, before progressing 7-6 on penalties, and also record their biggest win ever.
For a club that only kicked their first ball last Christmas Day, the victory sent Igbajo United’s fans into wild jubilations in Abuja, Igbajo and abroad.
The Igbajo United Supporters Club, Abuja branch, led by Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), held a reception for the team, after the remarkable win.
“We have a very huge Igbajo community in Abuja and they were there to cheer the club. After the match, they took very good care of the players and officials. It’s a community club, so we have our supporters everywhere, that’s the idea,” Sola Fanawopo, President, Igbajo Development Association, who also doubles as vice chairman of the club, told The PUNCH.
“We also have our supporters club in Igbajo, Osogbo, Lagos and Kaduna. We have in the UK as well, so, anywhere we go, the supporters club takes charge, it helped us in Abuja.”
On what was on their minds when they saw the draw against their more fancied foes, who were beaten in the competition’s final 3-0 by Julius Berger 21 years ago, Fanawopo said they were motivated against the odds.
“We spoke to the boys and the coaching crew ahead of the game, telling them that playing against a club that has a name in the competition is the motivation they needed.
“Yobe are a highly motivated side, so, we knew what to expect.”