By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Reigning Women League champions Rivers Angels of Port Harcourt got their first away win without kicking a ball after they got a walkover against Pelican Stars on Sunday in Calabar.
The NWPL week 2 game between Rivers Angels and Pelican Stars failed to hold due to the inability of the Cross River State management to release funds for the team to host the game.
According to the team manager of Rivers Angels, Matilda Otuene, in a release made available to Completesportsnigeria.com, they had requested that their games be postponed till after the world Cup since they have more than four players in the national team, but the NWL board insisted all league games must go on.
Little did they know that Pelican Stars were also not prepared financially for the game and demanded the game be postponed and Rivers Angels should be stopped from honouring the game but the league board also turned down their request.
“A number of my players are not in town because I have nine girls in Super Falcons while the other two foreign players are playing the Olympic qualifiers for Cameroon and Ghana and I lost five others to foreign clubs: the likes of Asisat Oshoala, Evelyn Nwabuokwu, Ebere Orji, Fransica Ordega and Uchechi Sunday.” Otuene stated.
“I made the complaint to the Nigeria Women League Board but they insisted the league games must go on and they don’t want any postponement of any games but the rules says if you have more than four players in the national team you can put your match on hold and I have nine girls in the national team.”
However, the double champions went ahead with the hope things would turn around for the hosts but arrived in Calabar on Saturday to find out it is status quo.
Completesportsnigeria.com gathered that on the part of Pelicans, funds were not released for the game. They could not take care of the match officials’ bills, their players were not ready for the game and all other logistics needed for the success of the game was not in place.
Consequently, Rivers Angels were awarded 3 points and 3 goals while they await official ratification from the Nigeria Women League board.
Otuene added that Rivers Angels should not be made to suffer for having talented players in the national team and the rules must be strictly followed.
“The rules should come first.” she stressed.
“It is not our making that the league started late but it is like we are paying for having nine players in the national team. Did we do any wrong in bringing up these players?” she asked rhetorically.
“Many people have asked why Edwin Okon who doubles as the national team coach and Rivers Angels coach did not search for players in other teams and why just Rivers Angels. People forget that these talented players move to where they would be well paid and where they would have better welfare packages.”
Otuene advised Women football followers to come to terms with Angels’ era of domination.
“Some years it was Jegede Babes, later Bayelsa Queens, another it was Pelican Stars and now it is Rivers Angels.” she said.
Rivers Angels will next play Capital City Dove of Abuja on Wednesday, May 13, 2015in a rescheduled Week 1 game before playing host to Nasarawa Amazons on Saturday May 16, 2015.
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