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Nigerian League

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



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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Nigerian League

Heartland beef up Technical crew with Nwachukwu, Gaadi




The management of Heartland FC has announced the further beefing up of the team’s technical crew with two new coaches.

They are Ifeanyi Nwachukwu, former Head coach of SKE, Port Harcourt who is to serve as Assistant Coach 1 and legendary John Gaadi who becomes Goalkeeper Trainer 2.

The club’s General Manager, Promise Nwachukwu presented the two coaches to the players in their last training session on Thursday before their departure to Ibadan for the NPFL Matchday 11 tie with Shooting Stars Sports Club slated for Sunday.

Nwachukwu charged them to be good ambassadors of the club and work with other coaches in the team to fashion out strategies to ensure Heartland FC get out of their present situation on the league table.

He said they should see their new assignment as call to duty and that they should work to justify the confidence repose in them.

“We are happy to have you in our club. You have come to add something unique to the technical crew and we will like you to make hard work your watchword,” Nwachukwu said.

Recall that Heartland FC recently appointed twice NPFL champion, Kennedy Boboye as Technical Adviser while Charles Uzor became the Chief coach among other changes made to ensure the club rediscover winning formula after a not too good start to the season.

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Nigerian League

Club Owners commends NPFL, insists on improved officiating




As part of efforts geared towards strengthening the synergy between the managers of the league, Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) and Nigeria Football Club Owners Association, both bodies met in Abuja on Tuesday and agreed to continue to engage in the interest of the league.

The meeting ended with the Club Owners led by its chairman, Chief Okey Kpalukwu commending the efforts of the NPFL for taking a strong stand against erring match officials, and putting the league on TV. He charged the Honorable Gbenga Elegbeleye led board not to relent in giving Nigerians a league they will be proud of.
“We want to commend the NPFL board for the way it has dealt with the issue of poor officiating by match officials and the promptness applied in doing so.

This is highly commendable and on behalf of the Club Owners, I’ll want to urge you not to rest on your oars because we can’t afford to go back to the ugly past where match officials do whatever they like with impunity and nothing is done to checkmate them. We’re not there yet but we’ve made progress. We are also happy that our games are now on television, this is very important for any league that wants to develop and be attractive to sponsors,” posited the former Sharks Football club of Port Harcourt General Manager.

As far as the Rivers United General Manager is concerned, the NPFL strategic partners, GTI deserves support for what they’ve been able to do for the league which he described as immense, he however asked them to redouble their efforts at attracting more support for the league while pledging the backing of the clubs to enable them achieve the lofty plans they’ve for the league.

On the issue of Total Promotions taking the NPFL to court which is discouraging potential sponsors from supporting the league, Chief Kpalukwu pleaded with the former league partners to stop dragging the league backward.

“I thought we’ve gone past this stage and I’m surprised that this issue of Total Promotions hasn’t gone away. What is certain is that the club owners as a body is solidly behind the NPFL and we condemn in its entirety anything that will set the league backward. Enough is enough”, stated Chief Kpalukwu who is also a member of the NPFL board.

In his response, the NPFL chairman, Hon Elegbeleye thanked the clubs for their continued support for the league body and promised to keep engaging with them to deliver on promises made when the board was sworn in by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) a few months ago.

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Nigerian League

Goals Rain As NLO Cup Kicks Off




It was a carnival of goals, with seven victories, a combined 30 goals scored, and Ifeanyi Uzorchukwu going home with a match ball following his hat-trick, as the inaugural NLO Cup- sponsored by telecommunications giant MTN and FirstCentral Credit Bureau kicked off on Friday in Kano and Uyo.

Eight Matchday One fixtures, four each in Group 1 and Group 2 were concluded at the Sani Abacha Stadium and Uyo Township Stadium respectively, to the delight of anxious fans who came to catch a glimpse of the Nationwide League One brand of football.

It was an interesting curtain raiser in Kano, as Like Minds FC ace Ifeanyi Uzorchukwu was a torn in the flesh for Zeal Minds FC defence, after he fired three goals past them, to became the first player to score a hat-trick and helped his team to a 4-3 win.

Another 7-goal thriller was in Uyo after Jaguar FC needed a late penalty to edge RORO FC 4-3. The game produced six different goal scorers, with Awhana Silas scoring a brace for losing Roro FC.

Ikechukwu Chukwudi opened the scoring for Jaguar FC with a fine finish in the 25th minute to the delight of his team at the Uyo Township Stadium.

Two quick goals were recorded in the space of four minutes after Hassan Joshua doubled the lead for Jaguar FC in the 27th minute while Abraham Samson pulled one back for RORO FC from a scramble two minutes later.

In the 33rd minute, Anyaegbunam Pacian increased the tally with a stunning strike, as Jaguar FC took a 3-1 lead into half-time.

On the one-hour mark, Awhana Silas scored a sensational strike to keep RORO FC’s hope alive to make it 3-2. He then completed what looked like a comeback for his team with his second to draw RORO FC level at 3-3 in the 69th minute. RORO FC will rue hard-luck after Jaguar FC was awarded a spot kick and Godwin Onoja stepped forward to send goalkeeper Tubobo Saheed the wrong way to make it 4-3 for Jaguar FC.

In the second fixture of Matchday One,
Alex Sunday also made history as he scored a hat-trick in the NLO Cup after his team Kun Khalifa FC put four goals past FC Chimoski, who managed just one goal in the game.

It took Alex Sunday 12 minutes to find the back of the net after he put Kun Khalifa ahead with a superb stunning strike from the edge of the box. He then scored his second and third in the 37th and 50th minute.

From the other results, Abuja-based Green Lock FC pipped NA Royal FC 2-1, while Kwankwasiyya FC was also 2-1 better than FC Sheika.
Palm Syrup FC were the first team to keep a clean sheet after they edged Krane FC 2-0.

Tudun Wada FC also kept it decent with their defending after they pipped Barau/Murtala by a lone goal while Olegacy FC and Vandrezzer JNR shared the spoils as the game ended 1-1.


Like Minds FC 4-3 Zeal Minds FC
Green Lock FC 2-1 NA Royal FC
FC Sheika 1-2 Kwankwasiyya FC
Barau/Murtala 0-1 Tudun Wada FC

RORO FC 3-4 Jaguar FC
Krane FC 0-2 Palm Syrup FC
Kun Khalifa FC 4-1 FC Chimoski
Olegacy FC 1-1 Vandrezzer JNR

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