Heartland Queens will engage in a fierce battle against newcomers Dannaz Ladies in Wednesday's Nigerian Women's Football League (NWFL) Premiership Match Day 6 clash at Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri.
Although both teams will meet in the topflight for the first time, they are not strangers in the trenches. Available facts show that the premier league teams were in the same six-team group during the 2021/2022 NWFL Championship promotion playoffs in Ijebu Ode, Ogun state.
On that occasion, the Owerri mainstreams emerged victorious with a 2-1 scoreline, setting an unprecedented 100 percent performance record in the history of the second-tier league playoffs.
However, the conjurewoman and tormentor-in-chief for the Owerri landladies on that day, Mary Lucky, with a brace, will be conspicuously missing on match day, thanks to the avoidable red card she picked in the barren draw clash at Naija Ratels.
Despite her absence, the coach, Obi Ogbala, is still on the dugout and is expected to make necessary changes to see his side overrun the visitors from Lagos, the nation's center of commerce.
The Owerri side has been held to back-to-back draws against Confluence Queens and Naija Ratels. Coach Ogbala's side knows that it's the right time to end the draws and return to winning ways.
Before the first-ever topflight matchup on Wednesday, the Owerri mainstreams were forced to a goalless draw at hosts Naija Ratels in Abuja, while the Lagos side overpowered the wayfarers from the Oil City, Royal Queens, with a 2-1 victory.
In the forced absence of the team's talisman, Coach Ogbala is likely to start another bullish, potent, and lethal finisher, Chinedu Chinaka, to lead the onslaughts with the complements of Chimebere Opara and Chinwendu Orji.
High-performing goalkeeper Uchenna Chukwu will keep her gloves, and watertight covers will come from hard-as-nails defenders Kelechi Orgii, Onyedikachi Ekezie, Chinyere Iheoma, and ex-captain Oluoma Onwere.
The midfield will be manned by top performers Oluchi Okwara, Oluchi Ofoegbu, Chidinma Anaele, and first-time capper Marvellous Duru.
Heartland Queens are second on the eight-team Group A log with eight points, three adrift of leaders Confluence Queens. The Owerri side will wrap up the first stanza campaign at the North East side, Adamawa Queens, perhaps after the festive break.