How Bayelsa Queens Thrashed Wadi Degla To Reach CAF Women’s Champions League Semis
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By Amaechi Agbo
Second in Pool B at the start of the game against Wadi Degla, Nigeria premier League champions, Bayelsa Queens defeated Wadi Degla 3-0 to retain their position and confirm their qualification for the last four of the CAF Women’s Champions League, Morocco 2022.
From the first minutes of play, Domo Okora’s ladies were asking all the questions against the Egpytians and they were rewarded in the sixth minute, when Juliet Sunday tapped in for the opener after keeper Kayley Cruz spilled the shot from Miracle Joseph.
In the 18th minute, a strong response from the Egyptians led by Ehab El Marghany saw Haley Roberson testing Bayelsa Queens goalkeeper Ange Bawou but managed to pushe the ball away.
The 45 minutes passed, the Nigerians return to the locker room with the narrow advantage of a goal.
Back on the pitch, the Bayelsa Queens showed better intentions and in the 48th minute, Mercy Itimi broke through the entire Egyptian defense and fire past the goalkeeper for the second goal of the match, compounding the woes of Wadi Degla.
Heads down, Wael El Sayed’s ladies were overwhelmed as the Nigerian side continued to dominated possessions.
A well launched attack through Blessing Ilivieda, who came into play a few minutes later as Mercy Itimi grabbed her brace of the match to guarantee their qualification. On the other side, the Congolese of TP Mazembe were eliminated by Mamelodi Sundowns.
With the massive victory, Bayelsa Queens are in the semi-finals for the first time in their history and will face the hosts of the competition, the Moroccans of AS Far in Rabat.
All the players who have worked with him would tell you that Domo Okara is passionate, a hard-working tactician who leaves no room for any emotion. But, this evening of November 6, 2022, following the qualification of Bayelsa Queens to the semi-final of the CAF Women’s Champions League is an exception.
Domo Okara Expresses delight over the win
“I am happy, really happy with my team,” he says wearing smiles on his face.
At every moment of this crucial match for the history of his team, the Nigerian tactician continued to encourage his players. Standing, closer to the field than the bench, Okara continues to send instructions to his players.
“Although we controlled the game with this goal in the first half, I was not satisfied with the level of play of the girls. They fell easily. I wanted them to go all the way.”
At halftime, Okara reassembled his players and Bayelsa Queens regained their dominance. More aggressive, more precise, they leave no opportunity to open the scoring for their adversaries of the day, Wadi Degla.
Wael El Sayed, the Egyptian coach can not hide his perception during the post-match press conference: “Bayelsa Queens gave us a real football lesson. They played like champions, I personally wanted to congratulate”.
“A new tournament is starting” – Mercy Itmi
After the Moroccan, Tanzanian or even Congolese statement in bid for the title, the Nigerian side shares the same dream as Mercy Itimi says: “we want to bring the Cup to Nigeria”. The 16-year-old aims to achieve the impossible with Bayelsa Queens.
Voted “Woman of the match” against Wadi Degla, the Nigerian has only one goal on her mind: “To win this tournament and surf on the good results that Nigerian football is currently accumulating.
The Flamingos have just taken third place in the U-17 Women’s World Cup in India, this time wanting the trophy and golden medal, Itimi said: “We have known everything in this tournament: defeat and victory. We started our African campaign very badly.
“Fortunately, after our first outing, the coach cheered us up and cheered us up (laughs). They told us that we play better and are better than that,” she disclosed.
The 16-year-old Falconet is determined to see her team’s name etched in the history of the CAF Women’s Champions League. We must remain very vigilant. We have the advantage of knowing the identity of our next opponent (AS Far), it is a great team, but Bayelsa Queens are also a great team. It’s going to be a great battle.”
The bets are on. Who will be the Moroccan team of AS Far or the Nigerian team of Bayelsa Queens in the final? The answer will be on 9 November.
Semi- final battlers
Current champions of the CAF Women’s Champions League Mamelodi Sundowns together with tournament hosts ASFAR, Tanzania’s Simba Queens FC and Bayelsa Queens from Nigeria have advanced to the semi-final phase of the 2022 edition that is currently taking place in Morocco.
The much-anticipated semi-finals will be played on Wednesday, 09 November 2022 at the Prince Heritier Moulay El Hassan Stadium in Rabat.
The final of the competition will be on Sunday, 13 November 2022 at 20h00.
For the semi-finals, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa will face Simba Queens FC of Tanzania at 17:00 local time (16:00 GMT) while ASFAR of Morocco will face Bayelsa Queens FC of Nigeria at 21:00 local time (20:00 GMT).
The winners of this competition will walk away with 400,000 USD, the runner-up 250,000 USD, the semi-finalists 200,000 USD each.
In addition, the third-placed group winners will receive USD 150,000, while the fourth-placed team will receive a participation bonus of USD 100,000.
This makes it the richest women’s club competition in Africa.