Two years ago, Sunshine Queens and Bayelsa Queens made it to the final of the Federation Cup, now AITEO Cup, but this season one would have to get rid of the other in the standout fixture of the Round of 16 to be decided on Wednesday.
2015 final was the last time both teams met in the women’s cup competition and it was Sunshine Queens that claimed the title. The Owena Mermaids from Ondo State defeated Bayelsa Queens 4-2 on penalties (after the game ended 1-1 in regulation time) at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
Then, the winners got 1 million Naira while the runners-up made do with half a million Naira, however, times have changed and 10 million naira is the new ultimate prize. So when Sunshine Queens and Bayelsa Queens go head to head tomorrow at the Ondo Sports Complex in Akure, they would definitely have that in mind.
Both teams have already met twice this season in Group A of the Nigeria Women Premier League. Their first meeting on Matchday 4 saw visitors, Bayelsa Queens picking a point in Akure with a 2-2 draw, while the second – a Matchday 12 fixture which was marred by violence in Nembe – ended in a 1-0 victory for Bayelsa Queens.
Although Sunshine Queens have the home advantage in this AITEO Cup Round of 16 clash, back to back losing finalists, Bayelsa Queens, who have been one of the best teams this season, have what it takes to force a draw. And if that happens, there would be a replay in Nembe on the 16th of September to decide the tie.
Replay is one of the new innovations that have been brought into this year’s AITEO Cup and it takes effect from the Round of 16.
There are two other all-NWPL fixtures to look forward to on Wednesday as Pelican Stars welcome FC Robo Queens while Osun Babes host Ibom Angels. Youthful FC Robo Queens dispatched a more experienced side in Delta Queens in the Round of 32. This happened in front of their fans in Lagos, now they would be looking to take their chances away from home as they travel to Calabar.
WOMEN’S AITEO Cup Round of 16 Fixtures