Edo Queens Win Maiden NWFL Premiership Title

Edo Queens Win Maiden NWFL Premiership Title

Edo Queens have made history by emerging as the champions of the first ever Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) Premiership.

The Benin City-based team clinched the title in dramatic final showdown, following a 1-1 draw against Bayelsa Queens at the Samson Siasia Stadium Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital on match day five of the 2023/2024 Super Six on Sunday.

Despite needing a win to secure their position regardless of their past results, the Moses Aduku’s side managed to top the pack.

They had to keep an eye on the match between seven-time champions, Rivers Angels and Super Six debutants Heartland Queens in Nembe, which also had title implications.

The Bayelsa Queens nearly took the lead in the sixth minute when Mary Anjor’s cross was mishandled by Mercy Omokwo, who missed an open net.

This miss proved costly as Edo Queens capitalised on a corner kick in the 29th minute, with Emem Essien scoring an acrobatic goal from inside the six-yard box.

At half time, with the match between Rivers Angels and Heartland Queens still goalless, both teams in Yenagoa intensified their search for a decisive goal. But four minutes into the second half, Bayelsa Queens equalised through Zainab Olopade, who converted a free-kick following a foul on Anjor near the box.

In Nembe, Rivers Angels took the lead in the 72nd minute with a goal from Olamide Adugbe who shifted the table in their favour. This put pressure on both teams in Yenagoa to find another goal to reclaim the top spot.

Bayelsa Queens needed more goals to surpass their South-South neighbours.

However, the Heartland Queens played spoilers for Rivers Angels as substitute Emmanuella James scored from a goalmouth scramble, when she equalised on the dot of 90 minutes. This twist returned the title race in favour of the Edo Queens.

Ultimately, both deciding matches ended in 1-1 draws, securing the league title for Edo Queens for the first time.

Rivers Angels missed out on their chance to win a record-breaking eighth title to finish second, while Bayelsa Queens also fell short of claiming their sixth title to end in third after successes in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2018, and the 2021/2022 seasons.

Edo Queens will now represent Nigeria at the 2024 West Africa Zone B (WAFU-B) Women’s Champions League Qualifiers, with the opportunity to qualify for the fourth edition of the CAF Women’s Champions League.

In addition to the giant trophy, the Benin Arsenals received a cash prize of N10 million after securing 10 points. The first runners-up, Rivers Angels, were awarded N5 million, edging out Bayelsa Queens who received N3 million, due to their superior goals scored despite both teams being tied on nine points.

Meanwhile, Nasarawa Amazons edged Confluence Queens 1-0 in the last game of the Super Six in Yenagoa. It took Regina Omede’s second-minute goal to separate both sides in the North Central Derby.

Nasarawa Amazons finished fourth with seven points, ahead of fifth Heartland Queens and sixth Confluence Queens, who both ended the tournament with three points each.

On individual awards, FC Robo Queens’ Folashade Ijamilusi who scored eight goals this season won the season’s top goal scorer award ahead of Goodness Osigwe (Edo Queens) and Ojiyovwi Kesiena (Nasarawa Amazons), who both scored seven goals.

Rivers Angels’ Morufa Ademola was voted the goalkeeper of the season after her heroic efforts led the Jewels of Rivers to a second-place finish at the season-ending Super Six.

The Fair Play award went to the hosts Bayelsa Queens, who finished third.

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