Winners, losers as Bayelsa Queens claim fifth NWPL Super Four glory
The Restoration Girls shocked bookmakers as they stunned titleholders, Nasarawa Amazons with two unanswered goals in the NWPL Super Four final at the Agege Stadium in Lagos.
Prior to the grand finale on Sunday, Bayelsa Queens served the needed notice of their intention to claim the top prize when they piped newcomers, Sunshine Queens 1-0 in the first day knockout match on Friday.
Former Ibom Angels’ markswoman, Charity Reuben claimed the Owena Mermaids scalp on the occasion. The Yenagoa side gaffer, Moses Aduku came out straight to declare his side performance as below par. The former Nigerian junior international blamed his side’s not-too-impressive performance on the harsh weather while promising a far improved performance on the final. And an improved performance the side put up to the admiration of the crowds and dignitaries that turned out en masse to savour the best of women football on display. They condemned the Lafia side and bookmakers favourites to achieve back-to-back to the painful act of retrieving the ball twice inside their net without a matching response.
Nasarawa Amazons may have sent out a strong signal that ended up a mere alarm when they overpowered their perennial nemesis, Rivers Angels 5-4 on penalties after full time scores stood at one goal apiece in the second knockout match on Friday to advance to the final.
Former Abia Angels goal poacher, Vivian Ikechukwu scored the match opener for Rivers Angels while Adejoke Ejalonibu even scores for the Lafia side thereby taking the match to penalties.
Amazons head coach, Chris Danjuma was audacious when he admitted shortly after the hard fought win that the Jewel of Rivers have been the reasons his side were short of key silverware in their cabinets.
For Danjuma the biggest hurdle to achieving back-to-back had been done and dusted as the trophy will be there for the picking against opponents, Bayelsa Queens.
That was not to be as Bayelsa Queens handler, Moses Aduku who claimed to be a Lagos guy and familiar with the Agege Stadium terrain had something else in mind as he charged his wards never to lose the trophy on Lagos ground more so they have proven themselves as superiors to the Lafia opposition in the past Aiteo Cup meeting.
Nasarawa Amazons lost the title but went home with the runners-up prize – silver medals and N2 million.
The biggest flops of the 2018 NWPL Super Four competition would certainly be the 2018 NWFL Champions Shield and Aiteo Cup winners, Rivers Angels. The Port Harcourt side with an enriched and intimidating profile arrived Lagos with renewed energy to make amend of the better-forgotten poor showing at the 2017 NWPL Super Four in Benin City but ended the campaign once again at the bottom.
Beaten 4-5 on penalties by Nasarawa Amazons on Friday the head coach of the side, Edwin Okon was humbled to opt for the third place victory, at least, to take something home to the Garden City.
However, his opposite at Sunshine Queens, Matthew Wemimo somehow shared the same thought, too that third place glory would not be a bad result to take home to Akure.
The losers’ match became a beautiful pride and keen contest that a gift of an own goal from Rivers Angels’ star, Amaechi Ojini in the 7th minute became decisive to grant the Akure side their heart’s desires, a bronze medal and N1 million.
The newest champions, Bayelsa Queens will square up against the Aiteo Cup winners, Rivers Angels to decide the overall best women team in the land when the clash in the Champions Shield on a date and venue yet to be decided by the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL). Rivers Angels are the current holders of the highly prized Cup.
NFF first vice president and Lagos state FA chairman, Seyi Akinwunmi, NRA president, Tade Azeez, former Nigerian players, Mutiu Adepoju, Chioma Ajunwa, Maureen Mmadu, Precious Dede, and LaLiga representatives, among others were dutifully present.
Of course, the NWFL board chairperson, Aisha Falode and her board members were there to ensure the four-day event remains evergreen in the memories of those who took time out to be present at the football showpiece.
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