By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Sports Writer, kick442.com Nigeria
The road to success they say is not an easy one. The same can be said about Port Harcourt-based Rivers Angels as they emerged as 2021 Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) Premiership Champions after the conclusion of the Super Six at Otunba Dipo Dina International Stadium, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, on Sunday, April 24, 2021.
Rivers Angels’ route to the league title started on December 9, 2020, when the league kicked off. Rivers Angels forced Confluence Queens to a 1-1 draw in Lokoja. Edet Glory’s seventh-minute goal for Confluence Queens was canceled by Regina Otu seven minutes later.
A week later, Rivers Angels thrashed Delta Queens 6-2 in Port Harcourt. Oghenebrume Ikehua (2), Michael Angela’s own goal, Maryann Ezenagu, Deborah Abiodun, and Cecilia Nku’s goals propelled them to a comfortable victory. Dominance Odubanjo and Amarachi Orjinma scored Delta Queens’ goals.
Rivers Angels got their second away draw of the season on December 23, 2020, as Edo Queens forced them to a 1-1 draw. Elizabeth Zirike equalised Vivian Ikechukwu’s 79th-minute goal.
Rivers Angels returned home with their first game of the new year (2021) and recorded a 2-0 win over Abia Angels on January 6, 2021, with goals from Abiodun Deborah and Vivian Ikechukwu.
After going on about a month’s break to ensure that clubs complete their COVID-19 tests, the league returned on February 10, 2021, as Rivers Angels earned their first away win with a 0-1 win over Ibom Angels. Jennifer Oliver scored an own goal in the course of the game.
Week six of the league on February 17, 2021, saw Rivers Angels pipping Osun Babes 2-1 in Port Harcourt. Goals from Cynthia Aku and Damilola Koku ensured that Yemisi Samuel’s goal for Osun Babes was mere consolation.
This was followed by Rivers Angels’ second away win as they defeated Pelican Stars 1-2 in Calabar. Cynthia Aku and Oghenebrume Ikehua scored for the visitors while Chinwendu Ufomba bagged the host’s goal.
Royal Queens visited Rivers Angels on March 3, 2021, and were handed a 3-0 defeat with goals from Koku Damilola, Regina Otu, and Ibinabo Georgewill.
In one of the upsets of the season, Rivers Angels forced relegation-threatened DreamStar FC Ladies to a 1-1 draw at Soccer Temple, Agege Stadium, Lagos on Thursday, March 11, 2021.
Kalu Favour gave DreamStar FC Ladies the lead from a fantastic long-range shot. Abiodun Deborah returned the favour by equalising for Rivers Angels with another long-range strike.
Rivers Angels’ second consecutive games in Lagos saw them suffering their first and only defeat of the season with a 2-1 loss to FC Robo Queens. A brace from Monday Gift helped the Lagos Landladies to a 2-1 win over Rivers Angels. Maryann Ezenagu scored for Rivers Angels.
Rivers Angels were forced to a barren draw at home by Sunshine Queens on March 3, 2021.
They returned to winning ways with a 1-2 away win over Nasarawa Amazons. Vivian Ikechukwu and Maryann Ezenagu scored for Rivers Angels while Ugochi Emenayo scored for Nasarawa Amazons.
Rivers Angels ended the regular season with a 1-0 win over regular-season leaders, Bayelsa Queens with Maryann Ezenagu scoring the winning goal in the 92nd minute.
With 28 points from 13 games, Rivers Angels finished in third position behind Bayelsa Queens and Delta Queens heading towards the Super Six.
The Port Harcourt-based side started the Super Six with a 1-1 draw. Vivian Ikechukwu scored the opening goal for them before Monday Gift equalised for FC Robo Queens.
In Rivers Angels’ second game of the Super Six, Delta Queens forced them to a barren draw with Alice Ogebe missing a penalty for Rivers Angels.
After a daybreak on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, Rivers Angels resumed matchday three of the Super Six like a house on fire with a 4-0 win over Bayelsa Queens thanks to goals from Maryann Ezeanagu, Vivian Ikechukwu, and Oghenebrume Ikehua’s brace.
Edo Queens were Rivers Angels’ next nemesis as goals from Vivian Ikechukwu, Alice Ogebe, and Oghenebrume Ikehua (brace) lifted Rivers Angels to another 4-0 win.
Rivers Angels ensured that they will win the league title and represent Nigeria at the WAFU-B Zonal Qualifiers for the Inaugural CAF Women’s Champions League with another 4-0 win over Sunshine Queens in their final Super Six game.
Oghenebrume Ikehua, Vivian Ikechukwu, Alice Ogebe, and Maryann Ezenagu scored the goals for Rivers Angels.
As we await the WAFU Zonal Qualifiers, it is expected that Rivers Angels will qualify for the Inaugural CAF Women’s Champions League from the WAFU-B zone.
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