By Ijeoma Okigbo
Naija Ratels Football Club started their 2021 Flying Officers Cup campaign with a goalless draw against Ghana Police Ladies at the Area 10 sports complex, Abuja, on Sunday.
The opening match of the women football pre-season tournament began with Naija Ratels dominating the game but was unable to utilize her scoring chances, all thanks to goalkeeper Nana Asantewaa of Ghana who gave a good account of herself by bringing the scoreline to a stalemate.
Ratels made tremendous efforts to grace the scoreboard, especially in the 24th minute when Olamide Adugbe superbly worked the ball down the right, going past Ghanaian Jane Ayieyam, but her shot was just too weak.
The 31st minute saw Deborah Afriyie of Ghana initiate a good run, but failed to lay on an accurate pass to teammate Cynthia Adjei as Seun Anani and Paulina Ali have created a formidable wall at the back for Ratels.
The Ghanaians also made an attempt to open scoring in the 63rd minute via Adjei but Doris Ohia made a brilliant save to stop Ratels from conceding any goal.
At the end of the game, Coach Bankole Olowookere of Naija Ratels said the team would keep working till they get it right.
“We give thanks to God for the game and of course, a draw is better than losing.
“We dominated the game and had every opportunity to score but couldn’t.
“The Ghanaians gave us a good fight but we’ll prepare better for our subsequent matches,” he said.
On his part, Frank Oswald, coach of Ghana Police Ladies, said his team lacked match fitness.
“It was a good game for us, playing against the host and holding them to a draw is not a bad one. Both teams have shown great display.
“One of our challenges was that, we were lacking match fitness. We are yet to fully prepare for our upcoming season.
“So, this competition is like a preparation for us ahead of the season and we hope our next matches will be better,” Oswald said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 16 clubs from Nigeria, including Ghana Police Ladies, are competing in the tournament which began on Sunday and will end on Oct. 24.
The third edition of the tournament is in memory of late Flying Officer, Tolulope Arotile, who passed on last year.