WOMEN’S AITEO CUP 2017 FINAL: PREVIEW

Rivers Angels of Port Harcourt will battle Ibom Angels of Uyo in the final of the 25th edition of the Nigeria Women’s cup and maiden edition of the Aiteo group sponsored competition on Wednesday, October 18, at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos.

The Port Harcourt side qualified for the final after defeating six-time runners-up, Bayelsa Queens 6-2 on aggregate in the semi-final.

Ibom Angels, on the other hand, claimed a 3-2 aggregate win over Abia Angels to seal a place in the final for the first time.

THEIR PERFORMANCES IN THE COMPETITION IN 2016

Rivers Angels were crowned with the Federation Cup title in 2016 after defeating Bayelsa Queens 5-3 on penalties after regulation time ended 1-1.

Bayelsa Queens’ Rofiat Sule – who is now with Rivers Angels – gave the Bayelsa side a 20th-minute lead, Osinachi Ohale put Rivers Angels level five minutes later, before the Port Harcourt club claimed the trophy in the shootout.

Ibom Angels were eliminated in the Round of 16 following a 5-4 loss to Delta Queens in a shootout after the game finished goalless in regulation time.

2017 NWPL HEAD-TO-HEAD

In the first league tie between the two sides this season, Ibom Angels forced visiting Rivers Angels to a 1-1 draw at the Uyo Township Stadium on April 5.

Alice Ogebe’s header gave the four-time NWPL champions the lead on 70 minutes, but Charity Reuben’s stoppage-time penalty after Emem Essien was fouled in the penalty area ensured a share of the spoils. The reverse fixture, at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium on July 5, ended in a stalemate.

In the regular season, Ibom Angels finished fourth in Group A with 15 points, seven behind second-placed Rivers Angels. Rivers Angels went on to feature in the Super Four tournament in Benin. They finished bottom, with one point from Three matches.

THE STAKES

Winners of the men’s version of the competition, Akwa United claimed a N25m prize money and qualification for CAF Champions League, while runners-up, Tornadoes received N10m.

Winners of Wednesday’s final, according an official statement, will pocket N10m; and the runners-up, N5m. Rivers Angels are joint record winners, alongside Pelican Stars, with six titles.

History beckons on the Edwin Okon’s side as a win over Ibom Angels in Jos, will make them all-time winners with seven cup trophies.

Whyte Ogbonda, who is in his second season with Ibom Angels, has already made history as the first coach ever to lead Uyo side to the final of a Nigeria Women’s football competition.

On Wednesday, Ogbonda will be presented with a chance to win his first national title as a coach. The Rivers-born coach believes his side are ready for the challenge.

Our target there (in Jos) is to get the trophy for Akwa Ibom State,” he told 234football.

“I know the team. It happens to be my last team before I moved to Ibom Angels.

The girls are well prepared, because they know at the end of the day something better is going to get to them.”

Ogbonda said Akwa United’s triumph in the men’s version of the competition would inspire the Orange Ladies to victory.

Akwa United won the men’s cup on Sunday and it’s a very big motivation for my team to go all out (against Rivers Angels) and come back with the trophy.”

THE ACTORS

Former Rivers Angels forward, Charity Reuben carried the goal scoring responsibility of the Orange Ladies in the 2017 NWPL season and was on the score sheet on nine occasions. Despite struggling with fitness and form, the striker could could offer Ibom Angels a good attacking outlet.

Coach Ogbonda could also rely on the likes of Imaobong Emmanuel, Blessing Okpe and Unyime Johnson, who all scored in the semifinal stages.

Imaobong’s aerial strenght may prove useful to the Uyo Ladies and Ogbonda would be hopeful that Celine Ottah would be at her best.

Rivers Angels, who have more international players than any other go team in the country.

The Jewel of Rivers wing are so rich in quality; they have several internationals.

The experiences of the likes of Onyinyechi Ohadugha, Evelyn Nwabuoku, Chioma Nwogu, Osinachi Ohale and Gloria Iroka could be key.

Alice Ogebe and Patience Kalu are known for punishing their opponents with blistering pace and setting up Rofiat Sule and Amarachi Orjinma upfront.

ROAD TO FINAL ROUND OF 32

●Adamawa Queens 0-1 Edo Queens

FC Robo Queens 1-0 Delta Queens

•Confluence Queens 3-0 Invincible Queens (Walkover)

•Beautiful Tours 3-1 Moje Queens

•Rivers Angels 5-0 Delta Babes

•Bayelsa Queens Feeders 4-0 Fortress Ladies

•Pelican Stars 1-0 Young Talents 99

*Ben Women FC, Ibom Angels, Jokodolu Babes, Sure Babes, Sunshine Queens, Nasarawa Amazons, Osun Babes, Abia Angels and Bayelsa Queens were drawn bye into the Round of 16.

ROUND OF 16

•Pelican Stars 1-1 FC Robo Queens

•Confluence Queens 3-0 Sure Babes

•Bayelsa Queens Feeders 1-3 Edo Queens

•Rivers Angels 9-0 Ben Women FC •Sunshine Queens 0-0 Bayelsa Queens

•Beautiful Tours FC 0-10 Nasarawa Amazons

•Jokodolu Babes 0-0 Abia Angels

•Osun Babes 1-1 Ibom Angels

ROUND OF 16 REPLAYS

•FC Robo Queens 2-2 Pelican Stars (3-4 penalties)

•Bayelsa Queens 5-1 Sunshine Queens

•Abia Angels 3-0 Jokodolu Babes (Walkover)

•Ibom Angels 1-0 Osun Babes

QUARTER FINALS FIRST LEG

•Bayelsa Queens 1-0 Nasarawa Amazons

•Ibom Angels 1-0 Pelican Stars •Rivers Angels 0-0 Edo Queens

•Abia Angels 1-0 Confluence Queens

SECOND LEG

•Nasarawa Amazons 1-0 Bayelsa Queens (Aggregate 1-1; 2-4 penalties)

•Pelican Stars 0-0 Ibom Angels (Aggregate 0-1)

•Edo Queens 0-0 Rivers Angels (Aggregate 0-0; 0-3 penalties)

•Confluence Queens 2-2 Abia Angels (Aggregate 2-3)

*Abia Angels were disqualified on ground of player ineligibility, but reinstated two weeks later.

SEMI FINALS FIRST LEG

Bayelsa Queens 2-2 Rivers Angels (Nembe)

•Ibom Angels 2-0 Abia Angels (Uyo)

SECOND LEG

Rivers Angels 4-0 Bayelsa Queens (Port Harcourt) (6-2 Aggregate)

Abia Angels 2-1 Ibom Angels (Umuahia) (2-3 Aggregate)

FINAL

Rivers Angels ?-? Ibom Angels (Jos)

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