After about five months of intense action that produced diverse outcomes ranging from expected to shocking, the regular season of the Nigeria Women Premier League has come to an end with the final matchday attracting even more attention.
The line-up for the season-ending Super Four is now complete while relegation places have also been confirmed as newcomers make a quick return to the lower division.
In Group A, the top two teams (Bayelsa Queens and Rivers Angels) had already been decided before the final matchday even as the basement team (Heartland Queens) seemed doomed already, so there was not so much to fight for on Wednesday – save for pride, maybe.
However, Ibom Angels did not spare Bayelsa Queens in Uyo as they beat the group leaders 2-0 at the Itam Sports Complex. Midfielder Unyime Johnson got the opening goal in the 24th minute off an Emem Essien assist before Charity Reuben stabbed in her ninth goal of the season ten minutes from time to further cement her place as the highest goal scorer.
Abia Angels played out a goalless draw with Sunshine Queens at home in Umuahia to finish the season second to bottom.
Meanwhile, FC Robo Queens were on rampage against Heartland Queens, dishing out five unreplied goals. Captain of the side Rasheedat Ajibade – who had emerged champion of a freestyle contest days earlier – showed no mercy as she unleashed a hat-trick in the 7th, 17th and 35th minutes. Monday Gift completed the rout with her brace in the 30th and 80th minutes.
Moving to Group B, Delta Queens’ second stanza blitz continued as they thrashed Osun Babes 5-1 in Kwale. It is disturbing that the Omoluabi Queens capitulated in such a humiliating manner knowing that they still had a shot at a Super Four place. But while things fell apart for them, Delta Queens – by virtue of goals difference – rose to the top of the table.
The away side started with Anjor Mary putting them ahead but Ijeoma Obi restored parity soon after. Delta Queens got their remaining goals through Rosemary Okezie, who scored twice, Maryann Ezenagu, then an own goal from Rejoice Ikoyo.
Nasarawa Amazons who were group leaders for most times in the season will now have to manage second place. A brilliant header from Adejoke Ejalonibu was enough for them to see off Adamawa Queens who also looked poised to pounce on either of the top two positions on final day.
Confluence Queens had no hope of progressing but Abibat Agbaji and substitute Lola Phillips still gave them a 2-0 victory over Pelican Stars at home.
While Edo Queens – in the presence of Edo State’s Deputy Governor, RT Hon. Phillip Shaibu – enjoyed a 2-0 victory over already-relegated Sa’adatu Amazons at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium. The second half goals were from Regina Out and Vivian Uwandi.
Attention now switches to the Super Four which would produce the winner of the 2016/2017 Nigeria Women Premier League season. It has been severally reported that it will take place in Lagos. However, a date is still to be decided.
NWPL Matchday 14 Results
Ibom Angels 2-0 Bayelsa Queens
Abia Angels 0-0 Sunshine Queens
FC Robo Queens 5-0 Heartland Queens
Nasarawa Amazons 1-0 Adamawa Queens
Delta Queens 5-1 Osun Babes
Confluence Queens 2-0 Pelican Stars
Edo Queens 3-0 Saadatu Amazon