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Liga, SociaLiga Season 5

The 2021/2022 LigaSFL Female League may have come and gone, but it has certainly left us with memories for a lifetime. No season has given us the twists, thrills and drama quite like this just concluded one. It was, perhaps, fitting that the season ended with a final for the ages, the great mainland showdown.

Alimosho Ladies FC emerged victorious after a stupendous performance, the kind that may have settled a lot of debates regarding them. Their fierce rivals, the ever impressive Raineri Ladies, had asked serious questions of them all season and this game was the perfect opportunity to answer those questions. Of course, they did so emphatically, with the stakes sky high.
With all that now settled, it is time to look back on the season and savor the greatness we have witnessed from the players who have participated and competed all season. In the past, we have seen some truly impressive breakout stars; from the inimitable skipper for back-to-back champions Alimosho Ladies, Subomi Ogundele; to the bandana-tying midfielder Blessing Emefile and hattrick-scoring Ajoke Akinbo, both of Dannaz Ladies; amongst others.
One thing is sure, SociaLiga’s LigaSFL is not called the entrée of talents for nothing. There is no better place to constantly find the next set of stars that will take the world by storm. This has been a difficult list to compute because of how many incredible performances seen over the course of the season., but we could only pick four.

Here are the FOURMIDABLES; the LigaSFL Female Freshman Class of 21/22.

Franca Asooto (Alimosho Ladies):

There are not many players that can make crowds rise to their feet as often as Franca has done this season. Blessed with terrific vision and the ability to execute any kind of pass excellently, she put her name in the hat for player of the season right from the season opener.

One thing is sure, SociaLiga’s LigaSFL is not called the entrée of talents for nothing. There is no better place to constantly find the next set of stars that will take the world by storm. This has been a difficult list to compute because of how many incredible performances seen over the course of the season., but we could only pick four.
In truth, everyone is still in awe of her passing ability. There is talk that she is already the best passer the league has ever seen. With a trophy in the bag and a spot on our prestigious Fourmidables list, the future looks bright for this star.

Judith Ibegbulam (Raineri Ladies):

 Judith is another player that got stunned reactions out of the excited crowds at LigaSFL games. A defensive midfielder par excellence, she showed that ball-winning can be art, all season long.

Nobody in the entire league thwarted more attacks than her, no one made more tackles and no one made more interceptions. Such was her dominance across zones 13, 14 and 15 that opponents preferred to avoid her entirely or take quick shots from afar rather than try to go through her, despite her small frame. She snuffed out many of those threats still, in a style that is now synonymous with her – what basketball aficionados like to call the chasedown block.
When stories are told about the great Raineri Ladies run to the 21/22 LigaSFL final, Judith will be at the centre of it all. What a breakout season.

Nwabueze Charles (Saints Ladies):

In terms of impact this season, it is hard to look beyond Nwabueze as perhaps the most impactful player relative to team expectations. In truth, not much was expected of the Saints Ladies because of the difficulties they faced ahead of the season. Up stepped Nwabueze, down dropped every person’s jaw.
One of the key reasons why Saints Ladies came so close to making the final was her. Whenever she did not play, they struggled to control games or move the ball into dangerous positions in the final third. She was the spark and the glue; a complete midfielder with incredible range and one of the best you will find anywhere in Lagos. Whenever she did play, they were a different beast and near impossible to beat.
Their biggest win of the season came against Raineri Ladies – an upset in every sense – and she was the architect, delivering 2 assists and a goal while completely running the show. Unfortunately, she missed the playoff game against the same opponent and it proved costly. Despite the disappointment, she can take pride in her season. A star is truly born.
Ijeoma James (Dannaz Ladies):
There is a case to be made for Ijeoma being the toughest defender in LigaSFL history. If you said it, no one would want to argue.
Despite a disappointing season for the team as they fell short of their target of reaching the final, she stood out as one of the best players in the league. The manner in which she read the game, her tackling style, her excellent workrate in cleaning out the back and her ability in 1v1 situations were truly impressive. Sometimes, she seemed like a one woman army, thwarting attacks on her own and making last ditch challenges to make sure mistakes of others did not prove costly.

Beyond that, she showed great leadership as well. It is clear that there is a lot to still come from her, and fans will be watching keenly. What a player.

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