By: Abdulquadir Adedapo
Non-league side, Mahanaim FC have set their sight on the Quaterfinal round of the 2022 FCT Aiteo Cup as teams battle to pick the only ticket to represent the state.
The Saheed Jimoh led team hopes to continue their brilliant run in the competition, despite being a newcomer who is competing in its first-ever major tournament since its inception in 2018. The Abuja based-club has shown plenty of prospect in the competition with eye-catching performances against league opponents.
Mahanaim Football Club was born out of the desire to rebuild, revive and reawaken the consciousness of African football players, club executives, administrators, agents, sport journalist to rekindle the almost extinct firebrands of talented African football players.
Having kept a good form in their friendly games before the Aiteo state qualifiers began, the non-league side faced Nationwide League One side Police Machine FC in the first round hoping to cause a major upset and reach the next round.
After a goalless first half, Police Machine took the lead at the restart of the second half but the young and spirited players of Mahanaim FC fought back and scored the equalizer through deadly striker Aliyu Baba, before the attacker sent the fans into wild shock when he doubled their lead to put them 2-1 up.
However, small controversies ensured their was a delay in the game, with the match restarting as the host showed supremacy to race to a 3-2 lead leaving the young lads almost facing elimination in the first round.
Aliyu Baba then scored his hat-trick with almost the last kick of the encounter to send the game into penalties with Mahanaim FC winning from 12 yards to advance to the next round after a pulsating encounter.
The second round then saw them square up against Garden City Panthers coached by their principal, John Obuh, the former Flying Eagles coach but clearly not intimidated coach of Mahanaim FC, Saheed Jimoh aka Seedorf kept faith with the same starting line up that defeated Police Machine in the previous round.
The first half ended goalless just like the last match before star man Aliyu Baba aka Tiger scored the only goal of the match to send his side through and qualify for the 3rd round where they would face NYSC FC for place in the next round.
Their giants strides so far has brought plenty of attention to the club with the club’s philosophy and style of play built on playing the ball on the ground and letting the young players show their technical prowess in the pitch.