10 things we learnt from the NWPL Super 4
The draw for the Nigeria Women Premier League (NWPL) Super 4 was held at the Protea Hotel on August 16 amidst expectations on the part of football lovers in the country.
Format of the competition was drawn out with Rivers Angels, Delta Queens, Bayelsa Queens and Nasarawa Amazons all expected to play in a round robin format before the top two plays in the final.
Prize monies was set at #3 million for the champions, #2 million for the second placed side and #1 million for the team that end up in third spot.
The tourney which got underway on October 9 at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, Edo State was won by Nasarawa Amazons who edged Delta Queens 1-0 in the final.
Here are the talking points in the five-day event which was sponsored by Edo State Government and Akogate Water:
1. Nasarawa Amazons:
No one gave them the chance to win the competition following their ouster in the quarter final of the Aiteo Cup. Amarachi Okoronkwo, Anam Imo, Adejoke Ejalonibu, Ugochi Emenayo, Christy Ucheibe, Joy Duru and Sarah Nnodim shone as Nasarawa Amazons emerged as champions of the NWPL for the second time in history. They played with zeal, strength and fire in them.
2. Delta Queens:
The team skippered by Joy Jegede was a decent one. They set up play with ease and kept their opponents under pressure at all times. In Amerat Adebisi Saheed, they had a genius who wasn’t afraid to take the game to the enemies’ camp. The number 10 impressed. You won’t talk about this tournament without mentioning the name Rita Akarekor. The goal minder pulled off countless saves as her team marched on to the final.
3. Bayelsa Queens:
Third place! Not a bad one considering the amount of work coach Ayebatonye Amabebe has put into the team since he took over from Tarila Okorowanta. There are positives to take from the performance in Benin City.
4. Rivers Angels:
Is it the end of an era for Rivers Angels? Having won the league title for three consecutive seasons, the Jewel of Rivers were looking to have another trophy in their cabinet. But they failed to impress. Their improved show in the stalemate against Bayelsa Queens might have won back the trust of doubters. But the ageing team needs to be overhauled.
5. Edo State Government And Akogate Water
For the time in the history of women’s football in Nigeria, a competition with enough resources and funds took place. Edo State Government really need to be appreciated for accepting to host the Super 4. Akogate must be commended for providing water for the contingents and also accepting to foot the bill for the third placed team. It’s a new vista as the first placed side went home with #3.5m, second with #2.5m, third with #1.5m and fourth with #0.5m.
Security provided was okay. The spectators conducted themselves in an orderly manner.
The NWFL need to be commended for a great job well done in the way the competition was packaged and organised.
8. Promotion and Awareness
The Super 4 didn’t really trend on social media, electronic and Print media. This is an area the NWFL needs to work on in future. Also, banners and side attractions around the Benin City town and environs should have helped to create awareness.
Below average but the league board should have done well to mobilize better for a competition of such magnitude.
I saw something different that has never happened before in the history of women’s football in this country. A beautifully decorated podium with fireworks was used for the presentation of medals.