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Nigeria Premier League

Sheroes Cup 2023: Naija Ratels, Edo Queens record first victories

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It was a moment of talent display and team bonding amidst atmosphere of conviviality as the 6th edition of Sheroes Cup glamorously kicked off at the lushy football pitch, located inside Aguiyi Ironsi Military Cantonment Abuja on Saturday October 7, 2023.

Aside football matches which showcased young women players from parts of the country on Day One of the competition which also prepares teams ahead of the new football season, the fully-packed spectators’ corner afforded fans, family and friends to relax and catch a glimpse of soccer mastery.

Captain of Nigeria’s Super Falcons, Onome Ebi, was among top dignitaries who graced the opening event.

In an action-packed encounter, the first match of the day ended with former Sheroes Cup Champions Edo Queens thrashing debutants and new entrants to the Premiership of Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL), Ekiti Queens 4-1.

The four goals from Edo Queens were scored in first half with Goodness Osigwe, Suliat Abideen, Omotoke Odueke and Emem Essien registering their names on the scoring sheet. The only goal from the Ekiti side came from Seun Fakunle.

Thereafter, the game between Naija Ratels and Sunshine Queens, which served as the official opening kick-off of the pre-season tournament, happened at the same venue. Naija Ratels won the encounter 2-1, courtesy of goals from Augustina Unamba and Bankole Sofiat. The consolation goal from Sunshine Queens came from Eunice Ezeani.

Performing the official opening ceremony, President of Ratels Sports Development Foundation (RSDF) Barr. Paul Edeh underscored the importance of the competition, formerly known as Flying Officer’s Cup since inception in 2019.

He said, “The idea behind this pre-season is to bring all women teams together as they prepare for the new season. The RSDF has solely funded this tournament since it started in 2019. The competition has been living up to the expectation of preparing teams that have gone ahead to win the NWFL premiership as well as done Nigeria proud in the CAF Women’s Champions League participation.”

While paying glowing tribute to the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Referees Committee anchored by Mrs Faith Irabor, Barr. Edeh, who is also the Chairman of Benue State Football Association (BSFA), made ceaseless case for enhanced officiating during the current pre-season outing and when the regular season gets underway.

“We thank the Chairperson of the NWFL for making giant steps in ensuring that women football continuously rise in Nigeria, with the increase of participating clubs in the women premier league from 14 to 16. We know that in the long run, the participating clubs in line with gender parity will increase steadily from one season to another,” he said.

The Chairperson of NWFL, Ms. Nkechi Obi, while commending the quality organisation of the competition, reckoned, “This competition has been veritable in helping clubs prepare for new season by way of assessing their players especially new ones.

“It is left private or corporate bodies to take advantage of this kind of tournament to showcase the things they do as well as support human development efforts.”

She, however, revealed that “very soon, the NWFL management will be unveiling welfare package for players in the coming season.”

NFF Referees Chairman, Mrs Irabor, reeled out ongoing efforts to upgrade Nigerians’ referees to measure up to international best standards and assured of the Federation’s commitment geared towards improving the round leather game through quality officiating.

Talking about the format of this year’s competition, Chairman of the Organising Committee and FCT FA Secretary, Coach Haruna Ilerika, said all participating teams will first play round-robin games, before the top two clubs would engage in a final battle to determine the eventual winners.

Coach Ilerika said the third and fourth clubs will face each other in a third place match.

Action continues on Sunday at Abacha Barracks pitch, where Dannaz Ladies will take on Honey Badgers, being the only match of the day.

Delta Queens, though absent in the ongoing edition, are the defending Champions of the tournament, with Imo Strikers triumphing in the NWFL Championship edition held earlier in 2023.

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Nigeria Premier League

Eyimba FC International on expansionist mission- Ekwueme

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Nigerian professional football league and continental soccer record holders, Eyimba football club fc of Aba has commenced the

Nigerian professional football league and continental soccer record holders, Eyimba football club fc of Aba has commenced the implementation of an expansionist idea that would spread the club franchise, further past its current torrents, the club Sporting Director, ex intetnational , Ifeanyi Ekwueme has disclosed.

Ekwueme speaking in Kano last Tuesday,.further revealed that the club management under the pilot of Atlanta 96, Olympics football gold medalist, Kanu Nwankwo has embarked on the implementation of a newly designed development template that would stampede the influence of the club franchise on Nigerian, African and international football climes.

He said, Eyimba fc is a trademark that has excelled over time, Kanu Nwankwo regime currently at the helms of affairs at the club is building on the heroic achievements of the club by resorting to building bridges across Nigeria and beyond.

Ekwueme said ” we have signed partnership that involves exchange programmes, we are committed to coaches development mini and major projects

He further said ” we now have the requisite development structures, with our now in place youth football and semi professional talent development programmes , this is vital and critical.

” Eyimba is not a stagnant or zero football brand, we are a broad football brand, that is why, we are committed to partnerships that are results oriented and have them spread across Nigeria and extend same to the continent and beyond.

He averred that though there are challenges, the current leadership of the club is focused and committed towards surmounting the hurdles and posed to take the club to the zenith of club side football, where Eyimba fc is rightly believed to belong to.

Ekwueme appealed to the fans and their partners to keep faith with the Eyimba fc brand , stating that the club has witnessed enviable improvements in the area of football coorporate administration that he said is now yielding dividends and would continue to help the Aba football warlords to improve in the delivery of mandated club football services and business divdends expected by all stakeholders.

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Nigeria Premier League

Lagos State FA Congratulates Madiba, Inter Lagos, Ikorodu City, On NNL Play-offs Tickets

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The Lagos State Football Association ably led by Hajji Gafar Liameed, has congratulated the trio of Lagos State based football clubs, Madiba

The Lagos State Football Association ably led by Hajji Gafar Liameed, has congratulated the trio of Lagos State based football clubs, Madiba FC, Inter Lagos and Ikorodu City, for qualifying for the NNL Super 8 payoffs.

In the press statement, Hajji Gafar Liameed described the qualification of the teams, as remarkable and very commendable.

“Lagos State Football Association, the stakeholders and indeed, all lovers of the game are very happy over the feats of these teams, and of course, what it portends for the development of the game in Lagos State.

“As we earnestly look forward to big time and top level football matches in Lagos State in the next season, Lagos FA, shall continue to give technical and every other necessary supports to all clubs, for the benefits of game in the state.”

The board of the Lagos State Football Association, also expresses its profound appreciation to the Lagos State Government and its agencies, including the Lagos State Sports Commission, for providing the enabling environment for social activities and particularly, football to thrive in the state.

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Nigeria Premier League

Stormers FC will return to NNL soonest, Olopade Assures

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The Chairman / proprietor of Stormers Sports Club of Abeokuta, Chief Bukola Olopade, has promised that with proper restructuring, planning and complete dedication of the players and coaches of the team, the relegated Nigeria National League club will return to the professional league cadre, sooner than expected.

Stormers SC, at the end of the concluded NNL 2023/2024 season were relegated to the lower Nationwide League after ammassing a meagre 24 points in 22 matches in the Group A of the NNL.

The team’s below par NNL outing only saw them winning 7 matches, lost 12 and drew three games, only good enough for the bottom third position in a league of 12 teams.

Stormers SC scored 16 and conceded 10 goals, a performance not good enough to keep the team in the professional league, when compared with the NNL Group A Champions, Madiba FC, that finished with 40 points with the same number of matches in the league, won 18 games, lost 6 and drew 6.

Olopade, a former Commissioner of Youth and Sports in Ogun State, stated that, by all standards, Stormers SC’s performance was not befitting enough and he doesn’t have any option than to make positive changes in the team that would lead them to greatness.

Olopade said on Monday in his office in Lagos that: “The relegation of Stormers SC from the professional NNL to the amateur Nationwide, is failure on the part of the technical crew and the players.”

He noted that, with the new plan for the club ahead of the 2024/2025 campaign, he would ensure Stormers Sports Club return to the NNL sooner than anyone expects. Adding that :”The goal of the team is to get promoted back to the NNL and in record time step up to the premier league and play prominently in the Nigeria Professional Football League. I believe strongly this is possible with hard work and investment in young players who will believe their future is in the team.”

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