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SPORTS UPDATE

Delta Queens Edge Edo Queens To Claim 2022 Sheroes Cup

Delta Queens have been crowned 2022 Sheroes Cup champions after a 5-4 penalty shootouts victory over Edo Queens in Abuja on Saturday.

To reach the final, Edo Queens finished on top of the table with 19 points while Delta Queens on their part, picked 17 points from seven games.

At Moshood Abiola Stadium, the game ended 0-0 at the end of regulations. Goalkeeper Anderlin Mgbechi produced two saves in the penalty shootouts as Delta Queens won 5-4.

Earlier, at the same venue, Nasarawa Amazons defeated Confluence Queens 2-0 to claim third place.

For individual accolades, the Fair Play Award went to Naija Ratels, while Best Coach was given to Edo Queens’ Moses Aduku.

Anderline Mgbechi claimed the Golden Gloves and Edo Queens’ Suliyat Abideen was voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP), while Delta Queens’ Chinaza Agoh won the top scorer gong, with six goals.

Sheroes Cup (formerly called Naija Ratels Pre-Season Championship then Flying Officers Cup) is an annual preseason tournament for women’s association football teams in Africa. The competition usually features elite teams from Nigeria Women’s Football League, as well as neighbouring African countries. Since the first edition in 2019, it has been described as the biggest preseason tournament for women club football in Nigeria.

Just before the commencement of the second edition, it was rebranded as the “Flying Officers Cup” to honour and immortalize the recently deceased Nigeria’s first-ever female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile.

In 2021, there was a hundred per cent increase in the prize money from the 2020 edition. The first, second, third and fourth-placed teams received ₦1,000,000, ₦500,000, ₦300,000 and ₦200,000 respectively.

In October 2022, it was renamed to “Sheroes Cup”.

The competition is founded and financed by Barrister Paul Edeh, through his sports firm domiciled in Benue State. For the first edition, twenty women’s football clubs in Nigeria were invited but only four decided to honour the invitation. The inaugural tournament was contested by hosts, Naija Ratels; top tier teams, Nasarawa Amazons and Edo Queens; and lower pyramid team, Honey Badgers from the Northern Nigerian state of Makurdi. Edo Queens emerged winners following a straight round-robin format. All participating teams received free sporting souvenirs, including soccer balls and jerseys.

The second edition saw the introduction of prize money, as well as removing registration fees due to the financial impacts of COVID-19 on participating teams. It was also officially ratified by the Nigeria Women’s Football League. The tournament venue was relocated from Benue State to Abuja. Bayelsa Queens emerged winners through a more traditional initial group phase, then elimination stages match format.

The third edition saw the ratification of an organizing committee that included many major national stakeholders in women’s football. The prize money was also significantly increased and the tournament was billed to involve other African countries for the first time.

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