Evelyn Nwabuoku’s second half goal was all Rivers Angels of Port Harcourt needed to secure their place in this season’s Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) Super 4 over Delta Queens inside a wet and cold Yakubu Gowon stadium on Thursday morning.
Nwabuoku fired home in the 63rd minute when she took a set piece from 25 yards, beating a helpless Ihuoma Onuegbu in goal.
Both teams came in already knowing that a win of any type for either of them will guarantee a Final Four place, following the victory of FC Robo over Osun Babes in a game that was decided on Wednesday. The Port Harcourt game, which was scheduled for Wednesday September 11, was moved to 8am on Thursday due to heavy downpour in the Garden City.
However, kickoff was yet again delayed as the rain continued in the early hours of Thursday.
The game finally kicked off at exactly 11:20am with little drama playing out as the visiting team, Delta Queens walked out of the pitch in protest that the pitch was unplayable but that didn’t stop the timing of the center referee. The visitors walked back into the pitch after 20 minutes had gone and play resumed.
Wogu Chioma and Yetunde Adeboyejo started well for the Jewel of Rivers as both came close to opening scoring in the early minutes of the game, but while Wogu’s effort went inches wide, that of the Adeboyejo’s effort a minute later came back off the crossbar.
Only 24 minutes was played in the 1st half but the remaining half had an hour and 7 minutes of play, as the referee made up for the time not completed in the first half
The Jewel of Rivers continued with their brilliant performance as they kept on piling the pressure on the visitors and it eventually paid off in the 63rd minute when Wogu was brought down outside the box and Nwabuoku fired home from the resultant free kick. Head coach Edwin Okon was full of excitement after seeing his side secure a Super 4 qualification
“I want to thank God for this victory and the Super 4 ticket,” began an excited Okon.
“Yes we’ve booked our place but the fight continues because we have a bigger task ahead of us. “If you check, the other three teams in the race, there are no pushovers, so we still have a lot of work to do,” he added.
Tosan Blakson is the head coach of Delta Queens and he admitted that Thursday’s game was winner’s takes it all.
“Unfortunately for us, we heard the result of Robo yesterday and knew we needed a win in order to qualify,” said Blakson. “I came prepared because I knew today’s game was a winner-takes-all.
“But I equally want to blame the board for making us play under the condition we did today.
“We only agree to play because we want football to grow and my girls gave their best,” he added.
Rivers Angels joins Bayelsa Queens, Confluence Queens and Adamawa Queens in this season’s NWFL Super 4, making it their 3rd straight appearance at the Championship tournament.