Amazing Aiteo Cup story of Ngwa United


 Ngwa United ... Aiteo Cup giant killers

For two years, Ngwa United, a grassroots team made up of students, spare parts apprentices and ambitious youngsters under the guidance of a Priest struggled in vain to reach the national preliminaries of Nigeria’s Cup competition.
Truth is the Cup ambitions of Ngwa United would never have been actualized with the presence of top flight heavyweights, Enyimba and Abia Warriors as well as the duo of Nigeria National League side, Abia Comets and Nigeria League One outfit, Enyimba Feeders, all in Abia State.

Not even the search for soft-landing in Ebonyi State from their original Aba base in Abia aided their dreams.

Sometimes, football dreams do come true.

The history makers remained focused despite the initial challenges.
Determined to succeed, the club remained resolute and the nut was eventually cracked in style in 2017 when they won the Ebonyi State FA Cup.

Success didn’t come without sacrifices needed for the worthy venture.
And all thanks to Rev. Father Nnaemeka Nwokoro, a Priest of the Catholic Diocese of Aba, who wears many caps at the young side.

Nwokoro serves as proprietor, coach, secretary and much more!
However, Nwokoro now has volunteers who believe in his vision of changing the story of Ngwaland with football as the tool.

Indeed, that is the life of a non-league side in search of glory.


Like every new venture, the story of Ngwa United FC started four years ago.
Originally named St. John’s FC after the church he served with, Nwokoro decided a change of name was evident when he was transferred to another church.

At inception, majority of the players were from Isiala-Ngwa where he hails from.
“When I left the Parish, some players joined who were even better and we needed to change the name to accommodate players who aren’t Catholics,” he said to

As a local team, Ngwa United competed in competitions around Isiala-Ngwa, Okigwe Road, Ariaria League and Aba.
For the first time since inception, the club competed in the 2016/17 Abia State League and finished third.

Mission of Ngwa United

Worried by the inability of clubs in the state to absorb the enormous talents available from the grassroots, Nwokoro decided to take the bull by the horns.
“Firstly, I wanted to provide a platform for talents in Ngwaland to showcase their potentials.

“Secondly, Ngwaland was in the news for the wrong reasons for a long time and I wanted something positive to clean our image. I wanted a new story for Ngwaland and the team has successfully brought this new image. Everyone is talking about Ngwa United” he told

Coaching without a Certificate

Nwokoro has completely rubbished the rules of football as he has no coaching certificate.
For those who want to challenge this fact, Nwokoro’s side was responsible for the exit of 2003 winners and NPFL side, Lobi Stars, coached by one of the ‘generals’ in the land, Solomon Ogbeide.

Armed with his passion for the beautiful game, Nwokoro successfully learnt coaching from watching teams play at all levels.
“Passion is vital in anything in life. You may not be a professional, but passion will give you something to start with. Besides, I use common sense.

“I learnt coaching by watching matches of my favourite teams, Chelsea and Real Madrid. Back home I also watch Abia Warriors and Enyimba whenever my duty permits. I also watch grassroots matches.
“Others watch matches and laugh, but I take notes during matches,” he disclosed to


Nwokoro is in football because of its unique features.
“Football provides a platform where these players can be noticed. It builds friendship, discipline and provides entertainment. I want to be part of this positive move,” he said to


Passion for football and the zeal to make societal changes have fired the zeal of the Cleric.
“I am passionate about football and know people can make a living from it. I feel young people are not getting a fair chance.

“Unfortunately, they live and die with their talents. Many end up into unholy things. Years back, Aba and Ngwaland was popular for wrong reasons,“ he stated.


Upsets & Statistics

Interestingly, Ngwa United’s Aiteo Cup story has been characterized by upsets.
Only a few know that the part-timers claimed a famous 3-1 victory over Nigeria Nationwide League One side, George Turnah, in the preliminary round.

The second upset was recorded against NPFL side, Lobi Stars, which won the Cup in 2003 and lost in the 2012 and 2015 finals, respectively.
With nine goals in three matches, Ngwa United is presently the highest scoring side in the Aiteo Cup.
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About Ojeikere Glover Aikhoje

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