By Sedara Oluwadara
The stage is set for of 2022 Sheroes Cup, a pre-season tournament mainly for club sides featuring in the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL).
The fixtures for the tournament have been released, and four matches will be decided each day by eight teams who have registered their readiness to participate in the tournament.
In the opening game, Adamawa Queens will battle Royal Queens by 8 am on Friday.
The game between Confluence Queens and Nasarawa Amazons will follow thereafter at 10 am.Same day by 2 pm, it will be Delta Queens versus Naija Ratels.
The match between Edo Queens and Heartland Queens will then happen, starting at 4 pm.
Sheroes Cup (formerly called Naija Ratels Pre-Season Championship then Flying Officers Cup) is an annual preseason tournament for women’s association football teams in Africa.
The competition usually features elite teams from Nigeria Women’s Football League, as well as neighbouring African countries. Since the first edition in 2019, it has been described as the biggest preseason tournament for women club football in Nigeria.
Just before the commencement of the second edition, it was rebranded as the
“Flying Officers Cup” to honour and immortalize the recently deceased Nigeria’s first-ever female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Article.In 2021, there was a hundred percent increase in the prize money from the 2020 edition.
The first, second, third and fourth-placed teams received ₦1,000,000, ₦500,000, ₦300,000 and ₦200,000 respectively.In October 2022, it was renamed to “Sheroes Cup”.
The competition is founded and financed by Barrister Paul Edeh, through his sports firm domiciled in Benue State. For the first edition, twenty women’s football clubs in Nigeria were invited but only four decided to honour the invitation.
The inaugural tournament was contested by hosts, Naija Ratels; top tier teams, Nasarawa Amazons and Edo Queens; and lower pyramid team, Honey Badgers from the Northern Nigerian state of Kaduna. Edo Queens emerged winners following a straight round-robin format.
All participating teams received free sporting souvenirs, including soccer balls and jerseys.
The second edition saw the introduction of prize money, as well as removing registration fees due to the financial impacts of COVID-19 on participating teams. It was also officially ratified by the Nigeria Women’s Football League.
The tournament venue was relocated from Benue State to Abuja. Bayelsa Queens emerged winners through a more traditional initial group phase, then elimination stages match format.
The third edition saw the ratification of an organizing committee that included many major national stakeholders in women’s football.
The prize money was also significantly increased and the tournament was billed to involve other African countries for the first time.
The number of teams was also increased to 12. The competition is scheduled to start on 4th November.