The Nigeria Women Premier league kicks off this Saturday with one match (Nasarawa Amazons against Robo FC) while other matches take place on Wednesday, April 11.
#YourSportsMemo www.aclsports.com went across the camps of the various teams and spoke with their coaches ahead of the season’s commencement.
Here is our comprehensive compilation of what to expect in the Southern region of the league.
Derbies herald opening day
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Match day One offers two mouth watering South-South derbies. Four-time NWPL Champions Rivers Angels will be guest of runners up at last season’s Super four; Delta Queens at the Kwale Township Stadium.
This is one match which followers of the Women’s league will keep an eye on because of the pedigree of both teams.
One major blow for Delta Queens going into this new season is the massive exodus of their players. A total of twelve players left the club and although they recruited ten new players, the ability of these new players to fit in fast to the philosophy of the team will determine how far the team will go this season.
The David Oche tutored side are hopeful of doing well this season. “My target is to win the league this season and I’m working towards it,” Oche told www.aclsports.com
Jewel of Rivers (as Rivers Angels are fondly called) finished top of their group last season and then disappointedly came last during the post-season Super Four but Edwin Okon led side are determined to reclaim their lost glory this season.
Seven new players, including fast rising striker Vivian Ikechukwu (http://aclsports.com/10798-2/) were signed to fortify the team ahead of this new season.
Okon, a former national team handler has come out to say also that his team is a home of champions and they will strive to win the double this season if there is no gang up against his team.
“This is a home of champions, by the special grace of God, we should expect the double this season that is if there is no gang up,” said Okon.
- Two players that fans should watch out for in Rivers Angels this season are Vivian Ikechukwu and Hannah Yusuf.
Edo Queens vs Ibom Angels
Another South-South derby is the match between Edo Queens and last year’s AITEO cup runners up Ibom Angels at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium Benin.
Edo Queens finished 4th in their group last season and have retained majority of their players with the exception of inspirational midfielder and captain Regina Otu who joined Pelican Stars. They were able to sign only one player; full-back Patience Dike from Abia Angels.
They are coached by Kenneth Aigbe who hopes to improve on their performance this season having worked hard in preparing for the season. According to Aigbe, he has done his best and have left the rest to God.
“In football, you (have to) work very hard which we have done and I have left the rest for God to decide,” he noted.
Aigbe is also optimistic that his team will get a good result against Ibom Angels when the two sides clash.
- One player to watch out for in Edo Queens this season is Peace Efih.
For their opponents, AITEO cup runners up Ibom Angels are out to make a bold statement this season having finished 4th in their group last season.
The team, led by Ogbonda Whyte seems to be one of the underrated teams in the league but yet were able to surprise a lot of people by getting to the Cup final before losing through the lottery of penalties to Rivers Angels.
The Orange ladies also aspire to win the double this season in what could be laughable, considering the pedigree of the top teams in the league but Coach Whyte is optimistic that despite being the underdog, his team will surprise once again.
“We want to win the league and AITEO Cup this season, it may sound laughable but we will surprise a lot of people this season,” Ogbonda told us.
Coach Whyte fortified his team by signing eleven new players and he is also optimistic that his Ladies will get a positive result in Benin when they confront Edo Queens. “Nobody goes to war with the mindset to fail. We are going to Benin to get the maximum points,” added the former Rivers Angels assistant coach.
- Players to watch out for in Ibom Angels are Miriam Aluko, Ayo Omosuye and last season’s league top scorer, Charity Reuben.
Part 1 of 2 of the Southern Region preview of the NWFL by Faith Oluchi (Twitter @trendyfaith)