By Muhyideen Jimoh
The Chairman of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), Gbenga Elegbeleye has hailed the quality of organisation at the ongoing 2023 Sheroes Cup in Abuja, saying it will help teams fine tune preparation ahead of the new season.
Elegbeleye who was a special guest on Monday at the 2023 Sheroes Cup competition held at the Area 3 Astro turf football pitch, said the competition has grown to become the forerunner to the commencement of every NWFL season.
The NPFL boss said the professional organisation of the competition will serve as a good tune-up for all stakeholders, ahead of the Nov. 15 kick-off of the 2023/2024 Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) season.
“ I am really very impressed with the way the tournament is organised, I can see professional referees, these are referees that actually officiate in the NWFL.
“To me, it’s another pre-season tune up for even the referees, apart from the various participating teams. This is the best way to prepare for the November kick-off of the upcoming NWFL Premier League,” Elegbeleye said.
He said he was on ground to show solidarity with the organiser of the competition, Paul Edeh, President, Ratels Sports Development Foundation (RSDF) for his steadfastness and continued support for the development of women football in Nigeria.
“I am here as a mark of solidarity to a friend that has invested a lot in women football in Nigeria and also chairman of a state FA (Benue) who is gradually doing well amongst his pairs.
“I feel we should continue to encourage people who are doing this, because they are very few in the country.
“I am very sure that the sponsor of this competition is not making any money, but he is spending so much from his personal earnings to keep this afloat. This is the kind of character the Nigerian football needs to grow, this is very lovely and I’m sure other spirited Nigerians will emulate what you are doing to help women football,” he said.
The football administrator said the annual competition could also serve as a veritable platform to discover and harness young budding talents for the various national women teams such the Flamingoes, Falconets and even the Super Falcons of Nigeria.
“Talking about the players, this is the best way to prepare for the new season.
“I am happy because I can see a lot of materials for our national teams; I can see a lot of very young ladies, this are not old ladies.
“These are young ladies that can be good materials for the U-17 (flamingos), U-20 (Falconets), even some of them are qualified to play for the super falcons, so to me this is something that is very encouraging that would produce players for the national teams and I love it,’’ he said.
Earlier, Paul Edeh, Organiser of competition and President RSDF said the competition which started in 2019 is meant to ensure proper preparation ahead of the league season.
Edeh, who is the Chairman, Benue State Football Association said 12 teams were invited for the ongoing competition, but six are participating due to logistic reasons.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that three matches were played on Monday, with Honey Badgers playing a 2-2 draw with Sunshine Queens, Edo Queens thrashed newly promoted NWFL side Dannaz ladies 5-0 while Naija Ratels spanked Ekiti Queens 3-0.
High point of Matchday 3 of the competition was the presentation of branded footballs and jerseys to all participating teams in the competition.
The Sheroes Cup (formerly called Naija Ratels Pre-Season Championship then Flying Officers Cup) is an annual pre-season tournament that features elite teams from the Nigeria Women Football League and other African women clubs. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Sadiya Hamza