NWFL: Abia, Heartland Oriental Derby takes center stage

Published on: 28 November 2023

Still ruing the sore noses at Lafia, Heartland Queens are well-poised for the first time ever oriental derby against nextdoor neighbours, Abia Angels.

The epic clash, NWFL Premiership matchday 3 at the Enyimba International Stadium in Aba, Abia state on Wednesday, November 29, will go down in history as the first competitive game between the sisters' sides, Nigeriasoccernet.com reports.

Prior to the historic clash, the sides gained mixed fortunes in the immediate past games, while the guests had their noses badly bruised at former champions, Nasarawa Amazons in Lafia, the hosts were all smiles upon return at Royal Queens in Sapele.

The premier leaguers are known to have met severally in non-competitive games with the spoils evenly shared.

As neighbours some other factors will help to shape how the pendulums will swing. Just few months ago, the sides' sweat merchants, Benjamin Nwoke and Obi Ogbala were coach mates at the Owerri side dugout.

Besides, three or four Heartland Queens namely Funmi Adefuye, Ololade Isiaka, Sylvia Iheanyichukwu, among others during the transfer time switched allegiance to the Umuahia side. The Owerri mainstreams chief coach and ex-international, Adanna Nwaneri held sway as Abia Angels' tactician two seasons ago.

Aside the off the pitch factors, coach Ogbala knows that he must grind out good result in Aba to play his side back into contention for the group's prime prizes and could take the risk to keep faith with his familiars perhaps with few introductions.

The side's talisman (woman), Lucky Mary, who has been incredibly quiet in two matches, may be handed the daunting task to lead the attack for goals, in addition to other key surprises still under the wrap. Hard as nail defenders, Kelechi Orgii, Onyedikachi Ekezie, Ekaette Akpata and Chinyere Iheoma will be primed to provide covers for in-form shots stopper, Uchenna Chukwu while reliables in the middle, Oluchi Okwara, Samson Faith, and former junior International, Oluchi Ofoegbu are mostly going to be on duty.

The expected victory dance in the derby will help the Owerri landladies to chance inching close to the top of the log given the outcomes in other fixtures.

The Owerri topflight will next play hosts to the Lokoja-based side, Confluence Queens in matchday 4 tie at their hallowed ground, Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri.


By Olaleye Oluwadamilola