Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ex-3SC star relives past cup finals

Ex-3SC player, Siji Lagunju has dug up memories of three past Federation Cup final matches, as Enyimba and Heartland prepare to go head-to-head in the 66th final of the competition.

Premier League rivals, Enyimba and Heartland will battle for the 2011 Federation Cup at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos this Sunday.

Lagunju, now Chief Technical Officer of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), was part of the cup final game in 1977 for 3SC, commonly known as Shooting Stars.

Lagunju also remembers featuring in the 1984 and 1986 cup final games for Leventis United against Abiola Babes.

Both cup final games had in appearance big names such as Edward Ansah, Toyin Ayinla, Best Ogedegbe (now late), Muda Lawal (now late), Wole Odegbami, Andrew Uwe, Friday Christopher, Friday Ekpo, George Essien, Louis Igwilo and Rashidi Yekini among others.

“Yeah, I was part of the final matches in 1977, 1984 and 1986. But my biggest memory was that of the 1977 final, between my club, Shooting Stars and Raccah Rovers.

"I was very young, and we had beaten Enugu Rangers in the semifinal match, which was played twice. We (Shooting Stars) were also the holders of the African Cup Winners Cup, having won it in 1976. It was a tough game, but we won 2-0.

"In 1984 and 1986, I was a member of the Leventis United team that defeated Abiola Babes 1-0 (on both occasions) to lift the trophy,”said Lagunju.

But the former Nigeria international's involvement with the oldest competition in the country dates back to 1967.

Lagunju as a schoolboy in 1967 won an essay competition in the western region for writing on the cup final between Stationery Stores and Mighty Jets.

Stationery Stores defeated Mighty Jets in that year's edition of the cup final game by 3-1.

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