Halimatu Ayinde Women’s Cup: Ysfon Queens are champions, SWAN President, Commissioner hail organisers

The inaugural Halimatu Ayinde Women’s Cup 2024 tagged “She Wins” reached a crescendo, as Ysfon Queens were crowned champions after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Rising Queens in Kaduna on Thursday.

Forward Peace Pius etched her name in history as the match-winning scorer in the enterprising final of the well-attended maiden edition at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium.

Elated Ysfon Queens captain and Nigeria international, Ramat Abdulkareem, heaped praises on the organisers, while urging the state government to support Ayinde’s initiative in quest to encourage women in sports in the state.

Earlier, the third place at the same venue saw Wisdom Queens emerge victorious with a 2-1 win over Kada Queens, securing their place on the podium.

Individual brilliance shone throughout the tournament, culminating in Wisdom Queens’ Temitope Olwatosin receiving the coveted Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Augustina Boniface of Ysfon Queens demonstrated stellar goalkeeping skills, earning her the Best Goalkeeper accolade.

The top scorer gong was shared by Blessing Musa of Rising Queens and Peace Pius of Ysfon Queens, both tallying two goals each.

Commissioner of Sports Kaduna State, Professor Benjamin Kumai-Gugon, commended the visionary organiser, Halimatu Ayinde and pledged unwavering support from the ministry, emphasising the pivotal role the women’s competition plays in empowering the girl child in Kaduna and northern Nigeria.

In corroboration of the Commissioner’s stance, Shehu Idris Didis, Special Adviser to the Kaduna State Governor on Sports, echoed these sentiments, praising the grassroots impact of the tournament, while promising state government’s desire to complement Ayinde’s good initiative in providing support for the growth of Kaduna women’s football.

Also, National President of Nigeria Sports Writer Association, Isaiah Benjamin, added his commendation, hailing the intention and investment of the organizer, Ayinde in her efforts to encourage women’s development at the grassroots in the state.

Days after the sponsoring men’s 16-team tournament, Benjamin recognised the Halimatu Ayinde Women’s Cup as a beacon for promoting gender equality, inclusivity and fostering talent at the grassroots level.

In her heartfelt appreciation speech, Nigeria and Rosengard midfielder Ayinde expressed incredible joy over the successful competition, promising to do more in unearthing female football talents in the state and Northern region.

She stated, “I am thrilled to witness the culmination of the Halimatu Ayinde Women’s Cup, and I am profoundly grateful for the overwhelming support we received from the state government, participating teams, and our local football stakeholders. This success is a testament to the collective commitment towards empowering women in football. I am keen to take this initiative to the next level, especially involving young girls in primary and secondary schools.”

In addition to the accolades, the victors, Ysfon Queens, received a trophy, a set of branded jerseys, and a cash prize of 100 thousand naira. The runners-up, Rising Queens, departed with a set of branded jerseys and 50 thousand naira, while the third-placed team, Wisdom Queens, secured a set of branded jerseys and a cash prize of 30 thousand naira.