Nigeria: Resilient Rivers Angels Retain Women’s League Title

The 2020-2021 season of the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) Premiership was brought to a fitting end on Sunday, with River Angels of Port Harcourt successfully defending their crown with a flourishing 4-0 win over Sunshine Queens of Akure.

The Port-Harcourt-based side won the last edition of the NWFL Premiership in 2019 since there was no competition for the 2019-20 season due to Coronavirus pandemic; and they finished yet again on top at the end of NWFL Super Six Tournament put in place after the regular season was cut short.

But Sunday’s final round of matches at the Dipo Dina International Stadium in Ijebu Ode – South-Western Nigeria – was going to be tough contests, with both Rivers Angels and Delta Queens tied on eight points after four rounds of matches. Third-placed FC Robo Queens and fourth Sunshine Queens both had seven points ahead of their respective duels against Delta Queens and Rivers Angels to determine the ultimate winner.

But it was Rivers Angels, managed by former women’s national teach coach Edwin Okon, that showed their resilience against Sunshine Queens, as Oghenebrume Ikhekua scored as early as the second minute. Striker Vivian Ikechukwu added Rivers’ second towards the end of the first half, while Alice Ogebe and Maryann Ezenagu scored after the break to push Rivers Angels on top of the rack with 11 points from five matches.

Meanwhile, in the other key Match Day 5 tie, surprise packages FC Robo Queens were held to a 1-1 draw by Delta Queens in a pulsating encounter.

FC Robo Queens took the lead in the 11th minute but were undone after Delta Queens levelled via a late goal from the spot. Delta Queens finished second with nine points, while Robo Queens came third on eight points.

Favourites Bayelsa Queens eventually finished fifth after a 3-0 win over Edo Queens in what was their only victory in the round-robin NWFL Super Six Tournament.

“The feeling of being champions is mind-blowing, a lot was at stake and I’m happy that we were able to write our names in gold,” Rivers Angels’ striker Vivian Ikechukwu said. “We all understood what was at stake and we were able to motivate ourselves, we never gave up.”

In the meantime, Rivers Angels, winners in 1994, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2019, will now hoist Nigeria’s flag at the forthcoming WAFU Zone B qualifying tournament to determine the region’s two representatives for the inaugural edition of the 2021 CAF Women’s Champions League.

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