For the second time running this year, Bayelsa Queens of Yenagoa, Sunday defeated Rivers Angels FC of Port Harcourt to emerge the champions of the First edition of the Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament in Benin City.
Bayelsa Queens won 4-3 via penalty shoot-out after playing a goalless draw at the end of regulation time, in a grand final played in front of the First Lady of Edo State, Mrs Betsy Obaseki, the state Deputy Governor Rt. Hon Philip Shaibu, NFF First Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi, NFF Chairman of Chairmen, Alhaji Ibrahim Gasau, the former Governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Igbinedion and the First Ladies of Bayelsa and Osun states at the mainbowl of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, Edo State.
The final match between Rivers Angels and Bayelsa Queens was a repeat of the teams’ semi final cracker in the 2021 Aiteo Cup, played at the U.J Esuene Stadium, Calabar, where Bayelsa Queens mauled Rivers Angels, 5-0 on way to their Championship victory in Benin earlier in the year.
Rivers Angels Chief coach, Edwin Okon, told the media after the final match that, he had believed that, his team would inflict a revenge against the Restoration Girls. But the resolute Bayelsa Girls didn’t allow that to happen as they took the battle back to the River’s Girls that had majority of the ball possession all through the 90 minutes of play to register their dominance and seriousness to win the final match.
But were denied victory by the sharp reflexes of Bayelsa Queens goalkeeper and national women’s soccer team assistant safe hands, Onyinye Okeke, who stood firm to frustrate all the scoring opportunities created by Rivers Angels, the reigning Nigeria Women Football League Premiership 2021 champions and Nigeria’s representative to the CAF Women’s Champions League.
After playing a goalless draw in regulations time, the game went into penalty shoot-out with the Aiteo Cup Most Valuable Player and Highest Goal Scorer, Anjor Mary, taking the first kick for Bayelsa Queens, she converted the kick for Bayelsa Queens’ first goal.
In course of the shoot-out, the two teams lost one kick each to level scores at 3-3, with Rivers Angels captain and former captain of the Super Falcons of Nigeria, throwing away Rivers Angels final kick to give Bayelsa Queens the opportunity to win if they converted their last kick, which they did to win the competition at 4-3.
It was wild celebration for Bayelsa Queens that had their club Chairman, Mr. Robin Aprela in attendance at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium. Also in attendance for the Restoration Girls, was the Bayelsa State First Lady, Dr. (Mrs) Gloria Diri, who was at the final match on invitation of the Edo State First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki. The Bayelsa State First Lady, who is also the Secretary of the Southern Governors Wives Forum, celebrated with her team.
She was joined by the Osun First Lady, Mrs. Kafayat Oyetola, the Chairperson of the Southern Governors Wives Forum as well as the Wife of the Edo State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Maryann Philip Shaibu.
The elaborate presentation ceremony to winners at the Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament saw the three First Ladies in attendance presented trophies to the winners in an all women’s affairs, after earlier presentation of medals to the top three teams, Bayelsa Queens, Rivers Angels and Edo Queens.
The third place trophy and cash prize of N2million were presented to Edo Queens FC of Benin by the Osun states First Lady, Mrs. Kafayat Oyetola, second place trophy and cash prize of N3million were presented to Rivers Angels of Port Harcourt by the First Lady of Bayelsa State, Dr. (Mrs) Gloria Diri. While the Champions’ trophy and a cash prize of N5million were presented to Bayelsa Queens by the Chief host, the First Lady of Edo State, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki.
Earlier on, four individual awards were presented to players that distinguished themselves in the 12 club tournament, with FC Robo’s Monday Gift emerging the Golden Boot winner after scoring a total of 8 goals in the Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament.
The chief host, Mrs Betsy Obaseki, declared the tournament closed after assuring that the tournament will be continuos. The final event of the Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament was the hosting of all the last four teams left in the competition, their officials, members of the Local Organizing Committee, the invited First Ladies from Bayelsa and Osun states and other dignataries at the final match to a dinner, where all the invited guests were treated to sumptuous meals.
The dinner was a celebration of the 12 clubs that participated in the tournament with the last four teams, wrapping up the great evening with group photographs with Edo State First Lady and the State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, his wife and the two First Ladies at the Festival Hall of Edo State Government House, Benin City.