For the second consecutive season the much sought-after tickets of the Nigeria Women Premier League (NWPL) Super 4 will be going down to the wire among the contending teams when the curtain fell on the 2017/18 regular season on Sunday, November 04.
The topmost teams in Group A namely Delta Queens, Bayelsa Queens, Rivers Angels and Ibom Angels are mathematically favoured to pull the string against each other for the prized tickets given how they fare in their respective last day matches.
Perennial champions, Rivers Angels look much favoured to earn an easy passage to the Super 4 with an away clash at struggling side, Heartland Queens in Owerri. Bookmakers are certain in their prediction that the Jewel of Rivers will amass the needed three points at stake to finish the campaign on a princely 28 points.
A fierce battle is however envisaged in the derby clash between hosts, Bayelsa Queens and leaders, Delta Queens in Yenagoa. At the moment nobody has been bold enough to predict with certainty the outcome the clash though many foresee both sides sharing the spoils at the end of 90 minutes. Should that outcome comes to the fore the hosts, Bayelsa Queens will close their campaign on 26 points while the Asaba outfit will have 27 points further throwing open the second slot in the group.
The group’s outsiders, Ibom Angels could slip in to grab the ticket with an outright victory at Confluence Queens in Lokoja. A victory for the Orange Girls in Lokoja will see them leapfrog the duo, Delta Queens and Bayelsa Queens on the log to end campaign on 28 points same as the Garden City side. The Uyo side may not be able to dislodge the Port Harcourt side at the summit given their inferior goals but would be good enough to finish as runners-up with their first ever Super 4 ticket in their pocket.
The scenario in the group looks daunting and interesting for the teams but as the saying goes impossibility is nothing in football.
Leading side in Group B, Nasarawa Amazons are good as run-away winners of the group after the Al-Makura girls shocked favourites and hosts, FC Robo Queens 1-0 in matchday 13 clash in Lagos to latch their hands on the Super 4 ticket and a possible defence of their league crown they won last year in Benin City. The Lafia side are at home to wrap up a largely glorious season against visitors, Abia Angels on Sunday.
Abia Angels who are making a bold claim to a first ever Super 4 slot in their second stint in the premier league failed to cement the desire with a NWPL matchday 13 clash 1-1 draw in Umuahia against fellow contestants, Sunshine Queens thereby putting their lofty quest torturously in going to Lafia to beat landladies, Nasarawa Amazons with as many as seven unanswered goals hoping that the Owena Mermaids will falter or share spoils with guests, Adamawa Queens in Akure. The Akure side are second on the league log on 22 points same as third-placed side, Abia Angels but on a superior goals.
The scenario above looks like a wishful thinking as well as day-dreaming. It’s most feasible and plausible that champions, Nasarawa Amazons and Sunshine Queens will pocket the two tickets in the group.
However the pendulum swings at the end of Sunday’s proceedings in both groups it’s certain that the colours of last year’s Super 4 teams will not be exact as this year’s campaigners. It will be slightly altered with the possibility of Sunshine Queens or Abia Angels joining the elite class. Last year’s Super 4 quartet was Rivers Angels, Delta Queens, Bayelsa Queens and eventual winners, Nasarawa Amazons.
For the teams that would have their dreams dashed at the end of the day the good thing is that each of the teams has been good fighters and worthy ambassadors of the ever-improving and vibrant Nigerian top-flight.
There was no dull moment as each team fought hard and healthily to prove themselves as elite leaguers. The season again as it has become the hallmark since the incumbent leadership took over the reign of the league as rancour free as possible with a little flashes of untoward act being decisively and promptly taken care of.
Without sounding immodest the outgoing 2017/18 NWPL season could rightly earn the tag as one of the best seasons in the history of the women league. The league will continue to get better in the coming seasons in line with the article of faith of the current leadership under Aisha Falode.
NWPL matchday 14 fixtures (Group A):
Edo Queens – Sure Babes
Confluence Queens – Ibom Angels
Bayelsa Queens – Delta Queens
Heartland Queens – Rivers Angels
Jokodolu Babes – Osun Queens
Pelican Stars – FC Robo Queens
Sunshine Queens – Adamawa Queens
Nasarawa Amazons – Abia Angels