Heartland Queens are Imo FA Cup champs


By Sedara Philip

Heartland Queens were made to sweat deep into their panties before they overcome on penalties hard fighters and non-league side, First Mahi Babes in Tuesday’s Imo State FA Cup Women’s final at the mainbowl of the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri.

Full time score stood goalless and the pretenders were separated on the lottery of penalties.

While the Cup holders, Heartland Queens converted their five kicks in a masterly fashion the non-leaguers converted four of theirs as the first kick was saved by the Owerri landladies’ goal tender, Amarachi Atulayo who actually made her competitive debut for her side in a podium dance.

Both sides however, have booked their passages to the national finals as the state’s representatives.

The amateurs have nothing to be ashamed of as they gave their illustrious premier leaguers lots of scares that could have gone down in history of the annual football showpiece as monumental embarrassment.

The first timers at the state podium stage, First Mahi Babes came into the dugouts well determined to avoid previous humiliations and just after 20 minutes of respect took the game to the opposite in desperate search for the opener and at each occasion the Owerri side goalie, Atulayo was at her best to save the blushes.

The clash was fierce and witnessed the scarcest chances on both sides.

Heartland Queens made four changes, Onyinyechi Kalu, Chinedu Chinaka, Mary Okorie and Ezinne Wokocha in places of Chizoba Orji, Chinwendu Orji and debutants, Emmanuelle James and Sylvia Iheanyichukwu in frantic effort to break the deadlock to no avail as the challengers may have resolved not to go down thrice to the same side irrespective of the disproportionate sizes.

And after it appeared to the arbiters that no goal is forthcoming within the asking time they rightly whistled both sides to the penalties and the NWFL Premiership side won the lottery 5-4.

Heartland Queens won the immediate past edition at the expense of non-league side, Imo Angels and went to the last eight at the national stage.

The men’s was a blowout as the state’s mainstream side, Heartland FC scored three unanswered goals against an equally impressive non-league side, Fr. Eburuaja FC. The victors and vanquished will head off to the national finals as state campaigners.

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