The stage is set for the 2017 champions, Rivers Angels to defend their title against Ibom Angels whom they defeated last year in today’s AITEO Women’s Cup final at the Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa.
It will be recalled that the champions overpowered Bayelsa Queens in Enugu 2-0 in the semi finals, while the girls from Akwa Ibom saw off the challenge of fit –fighting Edo Queens at Owerri’s Dan Anyiam Stadium.
The women’s final comes 24 hours before the men’s battle, with Rangers International of Enugu and Kano Pillars going for each other’s jugular at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on Wednesday evening.
Coached by Whyte Ogbonda, the Ibom Angels have earned the respect of the average women football follower, having stretched Rivers Angels in last year’s Final in Jos and generally showing consistency on the domestic scene.
No doubt, their ‘star woman’ on Tuesday would be defender Glory Ogbonna, who has become an integral part of the Super Falcons squad and is one of the principal reasons Ibom Angels are making their second successive appearance in the AITEO Cup final. She commands a solid defensive set-up and ensured her side has not conceded in this year’s competition.
They also boast the precocious Emem Essien, a winger with so much promise and potential, as well as strong defender Fehintola Mabokanje.
Cup holders Rivers Angels are certainly not coming to Yenagoa to admire the riverine landscape. Coached by former Super Falcons’ chief-in-the-dugout, Edwin Okon, the Angels have won the National Cup (which became AITEO Cup last year following the acquisition of the competition rights by AITEO Energy Group) more than any other club in the land and are looking to successfully defend their title.
The girls from Garden City represent an array of some of the best performers in women football in the country, and names like Evelyn Nwabuoku, Chiamaka Nnadozie and Rofiat Sule easily strike a note in that sector.
Former Super Falcons’ captain Nwabuoku has a point to prove, having been overlooked in the recent list of players called up for the defence of the Women Africa Cup of Nations title, and the prolific Sule knows her goals will matter when the whistle goes for kick off in the Bayelsa State capital.
Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, who shone brilliantly for the Nigeria U20 girls at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in France in August, will try to stand between Ibom Angels and a first national trophy.