Sheroes Cup 2023: Nkechi Obi thumbs up organisers as Irabor, Ebi light up opening day

Photo: NWFL Chairperson, Nkechi Obi meeting one of the teams before the Sheroes Cup kick off Saturday in Abuja.

By Ifeanyi Eduzor

It was a moment of talent display and team bonding amidst atmosphere of conviviality as the 6th edition of Sheroes Cup glamorously kicked off at the lushy football pitch, located inside Aguiyi Ironsi Military Cantonment Abuja on Saturday October 7, 2023.

Aside football matches which showcased young women players from parts of the country on Day One of the competition which also prepares teams ahead of the new football season, the fully-packed spectators’ corner afforded fans, family and friends to relax and catch a glimpse of soccer mastery.

Captain of Nigeria’s Super Falcons, Onome Ebi,  was among top dignitaries who graced the opening event.

In an action-packed encounter, the first match of the day ended with former Sheroes Cup Champions Edo Queens thrashing debutants and new entrants to the Premiership of Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL), Ekiti Queens 4-1.

The four goals from Edo Queens were scored in first half with Goodness Osigwe, Suliat Abideen, Omotoke Odueke and Emem Essien registering their names on the scoring sheet. The only goal from the Ekiti side came from Seun Fakunle.

Thereafter, the game between Naija Ratels and Sunshine Queens, which served as the official opening kick-off of the pre-season tournament, happened at the same venue. Naija Ratels won the encounter 2-1, courtesy of goals from Augustina Unamba and Bankole Sofiat. The consolation goal from Sunshine Queens came from Eunice Ezeani.

Performing the official opening ceremony, President of Ratels Sports Development Foundation (RSDF) Barr. Paul Edeh underscored the importance of the competition, formerly known as Flying Officer’s Cup since inception in 2019.

He said, “The idea behind this pre-season is to bring all women teams together as they prepare for the new season. The RSDF has solely funded this tournament since it started in 2019. The competition has been living up to the expectation of preparing teams that have gone ahead to win the NWFL premiership as well as done Nigeria proud in the CAF Women’s Champions League participation.”

While paying glowing tribute to the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Referees Committee anchored by Mrs Faith Irabor, Barr. Edeh, who is also the Chairman of Benue State Football Association (BSFA), made ceaseless case for enhanced officiating during the current pre-season outing and when the regular season gets underway.

“We thank the Chairperson of the NWFL for making giant steps in ensuring that women football continuously rise in Nigeria, with the increase of participating clubs in the women premier league from 14 to 16. We know that in the long run, the participating clubs in line with gender parity will increase steadily from one season to another,” he said.

The Chairperson of NWFL, Ms. Nkechi Obi, while commending the quality organisation of the competition, reckoned, “This competition has been veritable in helping clubs prepare for new season by way of assessing their players especially new ones.

“It is left for the corporate bodies to take advantage of this kind of tournament to showcase the things they do as well as support human development efforts.”

She, however, revealed that “very soon, the NWFL management will be unveiling welfare package for players in the coming season.”

NFF Referees Chairman, Mrs Irabor, reeled out ongoing efforts to upgrade Nigerians’ referees to measure up to international best standards and assured of the Federation’s commitment geared towards improving the round leather game through quality officiating.

Talking about the format of this year’s competition, Chairman of the Organising Committee and FCT FA Secretary, Coach Haruna Ilerika, said all participating teams will first play round-robin games, before the top two clubs would engage in a final battle to determine the eventual winners.

Coach Ilerika said the third and fourth clubs will face each other in a third place match.

Delta Queens, though absent in the ongoing edition, are the defending Champions of the tournament, with Imo Strikers triumphing in the NWFL Championship edition held earlier in 2023.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker