Soul-lifting musical lyrics amidst joyous atmosphere rented the air inside the Moshood Abiola National stadium, Abuja, at the weekend when the much talked about 2022 Sheroes Cup, a pre-season tournament ended in grand style to the applause of football loving Nigerians.
The grand finale was attended by many soccer stakeholders including the Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation and former Super Eagles coach Austin Eguavoen.
At the end of regular play between two neighbours and arch-rivals – Edo and Delta Queens, the final match of the prestigious pre-season competition was decided via penalties. Delta Queens took the day 5-4 and were crowned Champions.
Before the shootout, Edo Queens with a total of 19 points to top the table, controlled proceedings in the greater part of the final encounter and looked more as though they would triumph, but their plans didn’t materialise afterall, just like in 2021 when the Benin-based club lost the final to FC Robo.
In the third place game, Nasarawa Amazons toppled follow northern side Confluence Queens 2-0 to clinch third place bronze of an annual competition organised and sponsored by Ratels Sports Development Foundation (RSDF) since 2019 when it started.
Speaking on the successes recorded during this year’s edition, RSDF President, Barr. Paul Edeh, said the just concluded organisation of the tournament surpassed the previous outings.
Barr. Edeh, the proprietor of Naija Ratels, one of the participating clubs while promising better future editions, enjoined wealthy football enthusiasts to join him in uplifting women football in Nigeria by donating to its course.
He said so far women players at the grassroots with various clubs have shown quality and determination to push for the next level.
“I’m particularly impressed by the quality of play by the various clubs throughout the competition. Both the players and officials showed maturity and character, and that is how it is supposed to be.
“We implored the best of approaches in the organisation of the pre-season by making sure that the best of match officials including the best referees officiated at the tournament and they really gave a good account of themselves,” he said.
Also speaking, chairman of the organising committee and a National team handler, Coach Haruna Ilerika said the competition afforded the clubs ample opportunity to properly assess their players plus the bond created among themselves within the period they spent together in the nation’s capital, adding, “It’s now left for the different clubs’ officials to review their performances and make good plans before the beginning of new season after playing series of matches.”
The eight participating clubs went home with N500, 000 each, totaling N4 million, alongside foreign-branded jerseys and other quality souvenirs, courtesy of RSDF.
The Foundation had last week honoured those who have distinguished themselves in various aspects of women football development in Nigeria and beyond.