By Faith Oluchi
If you’re familiar with Southeast Nigeria, the oriental derby is a football rivalry you wouldn’t take your eyes off.
Wednesday the 5th of April will witness the first Women’s Oriental derby in the Nigeria Women Football League this season in a match referred to as a battle between Queens and Angels.
Imo state’s Heartland Queens, will be going into this battle as underdogs because they are debutantes in the league while hosts Abia Angels are already emerging as a household name when it comes to women’s football in Nigeria.
Many are of the opinion that Heartland Queens would be inducted into the league’s baptism of fire for goals conceded, but they are expected to be mindful of the challenge.
Certain factors seem to favour Abia Angels in this Oriental Derby, the very top being the benefit of playing at home. They have notable players that can scare any team on their day.
Vivian Ikechukwu is one player to watch out for having scored a brace against the defending champions Rivers Angels in a friendly match recently.
Also, former Super Falcons playmaker Ifeanyi Chiejine, is another top player whose international experience should count for Angels who are handled by Super Falcons legend and former COD Ladies coach, Ann Chiejine.
As underdogs, Heartland Queens may not have the big names and prominent players but one thing that would be relying on in Wednesday’s game is their team unity and self belief.
Speaking to one of the players who chose to stay anonymous, she never fails to believe in the magic football conjures.
”We have seen where underdogs cause upset in football matches before. Who would have believed that Plateau United would be on top of the NPFL (Nigeria’s men premier league) now? So, we are not bothered about the underdogs name but would prove many people wrong tomorrow (Wednesday) on the pitch”.
Heartland Queens technical crew is lead by former Bayelsa Queens coach, Moses Adiuke.
Will the ”cinderellas” take the shine off the household name on Wednesday at the Umuahia Township Staduim? LadiesMarch will be there to tell.