As the bell tolls for the NWPL 16 teams
The zero hour stares us fiercely in the face for the commencement of the 2017/18 Nigeria Women Premier League (NWPL) due for Saturday, April 07, 2018 Kicking off with the season’s star match between league champions, Nasarawa Amazons and FC Robo Queens at the Lafia Township Stadium.
Other NWPL matchday 1 fixtures will hold on Wednesday, April 11 across the two groups that make up of the 16-team format.
The statement of intention across the camps has been affirmative at times bullish as none wants to play the second fiddle this time around to any other side in the top-flight.
Every team wants to be the league champions and Aiteo Cup winners too as none wants to be the vanquished. The teams’ build-up speaks volume and actually matches their respective intentions and wishes to be champions with the quality of choicest players they added to their work force as well as the pre-season matches they engaged themselves.
However, a takeaway from the teams’ personnel is the acceptance that none of the premier league sides is a pushover whether debutants or the oldies.
The Lafia side manager, Chris Danjuma said his side is always upward looking in terms of goal-setting every other season.
“Readiness for us is all about the goal we set for ourselves. Nasarawa Amazons is a side that has been progressive, to always want to beat its last mark result. It starts with the first match.
“We have been consistent in the league and last season we picked the league shield.
“We have been getting to the semifinal and final of the Aiteo Cup and have not been able to win the crown. The journey to aspire to win starts also with the first match.
“FC Robo Queens have antecedent in the league even though we have not met in the league but we played in the Aiteo Cup in the past.
“However, I have been an ardent follower of the team because of some key national players in the team. FC Robo Queens could be new to us but I’m quite known with the team.
“FC Robo Queens are not pushovers and we will not treat them as one.
“Our driving force has been to set a mark on where we want to be after a certain number of matches, we always strive to get to the mark.
“We always strive to establish ourselves at each height so we hope to achieve the highest heights at the end of the day,” said the Nigeria’s U20 women team, Falconets head coach.
The Lagos outfit manager, Emmanuel Osahon insists that his side will not struggle as they did in the immediate past league season.
“We are ready for the commencement of the league season as I have my key players intact though with few misses for the league challenge.
“We are not going to Lafia to lose to league champions, Nasarawa Amazons the worst result will be draw.
“The players have been impressive in our build-ups; I’m sure if they keep to the height the sky will be the limit of what we can achieve this term.
“Of course, we will not suffer any complex playing the league champions as some of my players are national team players together with their opponents, Nasarawa Amazons.
“Our game is going to be interesting nothing like struggling this term rather you should expect the unknown from the young players and unknown play position from the known and established players.
“FC Robo Queens will not struggle or make same mistake as last season,” said Osahon.
Ibom Angels manager, Whyte Ogbonda is bullish with his insistence that the Uyo landladies will be double champions this term.
“Ibom Angels are ready bearing in mind that we had good recruitment and started our pre-season quite earlier compared with last league season.
“We have our good legs from last season intact in addition to the finest ones we brought in to strengthen the team.
“Usually, first league match is quite important and we will be cautious in our approach to the clash against Edo Queens.
“We have met at the FA Cup level though we were victorious but then we do not consider any team in the premier league a pushover.
“We must not drop point at Edo Queens as the height you attend at the end of the campaign starts with the first game.
“We are gunning for double this term and I have told the players in no uncertain term that we must be in the Super 4 at the end of the season,” said Ogbonda.
Heartland Queens head coach, Eucharia Uche said her side will accord due respect to debutants, Sure Babes but will not compromise on the three points at stake.
“Sure Babes played league competition last season to qualify for the premier league and for a team to qualify for the top-flight means they have something up their sleeves.
“We are not going to underrate them but see and approach them as one of the best sides in the land.
“Heartland Queens are good to go as the technical crew has worked very hard to shop for best legs and to blend them with the old ones. We are far better now than previously.
“Of course, every journey starts with the first step and every coach will want that first step to be good whether it holds on home ground or away.
“We are preparing to get something positive at Sure Babes, it’s equally possible we get the whole three points at stake.
“I want Heartland Queens to compete not merely participate, we are coming out strongly this term,” said the former Nigerian player and coach.
Rivers Angels’ manager, Edwin Okon said the Jewel of Rivers hope to remain the house of trophies for the women game.
“Delta Queens are good side and if I’m going there to confront the side I must be well prepared as I want to pick my first three points there.
“Of course, first match of the league season is always important to the height you climb in the entire season.
“With the introduction of new players to our fold the only way to be sure of their form is through series of friendly matches.
“We play friendly matches three times a week because of the importance we attached to the league as well as our aspirations.
“As house of champions we want to go back to where we belonged, we missed one – league shield last season we will not want to miss any one this term, it’s double or nothing,” said former Super Falcons manager.
The sing-song is the same in other teams, Abia Angels, Adamawa Queens, Pelican Stars, Sunshine Queens, Osun Babes and newcomers, Jokodolu Babes and Sure Babes.
Nothing changes, too in the camps of Edo Queens, Confluence Queens, Bayelsa Queens and Delta Queens.
All the teams are ready they have done and perfected their home work only waiting anxiously for the whistle to sound off signalling the commencement of another wonderful season.
NWPL matchday 1 fixtures
Saturday, April 07
Nasarawa Amazons – FC Robo Queens
Wednesday, April 11
Edo Queens – Ibom Angels
Confluence Queens – Bayelsa Queens
Sure Babes – Heartland Queens
Rivers Angels – Delta Queens
Sunshine Queens – Abia Angels
Pelican Stars – Osun Babes
Adamawa Queens – Jokodolu Babes