The best six teams in the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) were recently in Ijebu Ode for the Super Six tournament, organised to produce a winner in the women’s league.
They were Bayelsa Queens, Delta Queens, Rivers Angels, Edo Queens, FC Robo Queens and Sunshine Queens. After a week-long competition, perennial champions and title holders, Rivers Angels, emerged champions. We commend the Garden City outfit for coming back strongly after losing the first two games only to win the remaining four matches.
The victory earned Rivers Angels the ticket to represent Nigeria at the WAFU B qualifiers for the maiden CAF Women’s Champions League.
The 2021 NWFL Premiership Super Six Championship attracted the cream of the Nigerian football family, including administrators, stakeholders, government bigwigs among others. It was a pleasant surprise as most administrators who were at the National Sports Festival a few days back, were also in Ijebu Ode for the Super Six. Super Falcons coach, Randy Waldrum was also in attendance.
Youthful FC Robo Queens of Lagos had a bright start but somehow stumbled in the last two games of the tournament. Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu threw his weight behind Robo Queens but to no avail.
It was interesting to note that until the final match day, four teams were on the cards for the title before Rivers eventually clinched it with the 4-0 victory over Edo Queens on the last day.
We salute the chairperson of the NWFL, Aisa Falode, for making the Super Six a big carnival that attracted the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare and the NFF boss, Amaju Pinnick. We make bold to say the NWFL has been vibrant under Falode.
The league was able to activate their restart even before the male league, the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). It was also good to note that the NWFL was consistent with the two matches a week format which the NPFL could not achieve.
It is also important to state that rather than the women learning from men, it has been the other way round. Edo State’s Deputy Governor, Philip Shuaibu, told journalists that many things the chieftains in the NPFL struggle to do are, however, easily done by the NWFL.
“We have to appreciate the women’s league because the organisation is always top notch and they seem to be better with ideas than the NPFL,” Shaibu said.
The NWFL came up with an abridged league to fulfill the directive of the African football body on the country’s representative for the inaugu- ral CAF Champions League for Women. Now, a true winner of the league has emerged and the name has been sent to CAF.
The Rivers State government should be ready for the challenges ahead in playing continental games. We recall Enyimba had travel issues only a few weeks back until the state government provided a chartered flight in order for the club to meet its football engagement in Libya.
The logistics of moving around should be considered early enough. Nigeria should win the maiden edition of the competition as one expects the NFF to also support the Rivers Statebased team to excel in the first edition of Africa’s inter-club competition for women. We expect all those concerned to make Rivers Angels represent the country with their heads up.
The charge the chieftains of the League Management Company (LMC), organisers of the NPFL, to learn from the way NWFL has successfully concluded its season to bring out a winner without issues.
Again, kudos to the NWFL and we expect the improvement in the league to make the national team, the Super Falcons, much better on the continent and beyond. We recall a former President of the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), Joseph Sepp Blatter, saying the future of football was feminine. That was well over five years ago. He argued that many things the male football players do are things the women will still do and surpass as the game gathers momentum amongst the fairer sex.
Nigeria is number one on the continent in female football but over the years, countries like Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea are posing a serious threat to the dominance of the Super Falcons. Gone are those days when the Falcons win matches on the continent with wide margins.
There are some countries that are fast catching up with the standard of Nigeria in women’s football and it is expected that so much work must be done to breed fresh talents from the grassroots
The domestic league is the template to evaluate the standard of the women’s league in the country and so much emphasis has been on the league in the past three years. We must stress that the Falcons in recent times have been struggling and the stars from the women’s league could be a big boost to the senior national team.
With the successes recorded in the NWFL, we expect the effect to reflect on the fortunes of the national team, especially now that some ageing players are taking a bow and new ones are gradually coming in.
The new coach is trying to build a fresh team and we believe the Ijebu Ode event would have been a good hunting ground for him as we wait to see new faces in the Falcons