Nigeria’s Flamingos begin their campaign at the 2022 U-17 Women’s World Cup when they face Germany on Tuesday.
Coach Bankole Olowookere’s side are in Group B of the competition taking place in India. Aside from the Europeans, the lot also has Chile and New Zealand.
The youngsters will clash at the Pandit Jawaharlal Stadium in Goa from 8.00 p.m. (4:00 pm Nigerian time), hours after the group’s other side – Chile and New Zealand – do battle on the same pitch.
Since its inception in 2008, Nigeria have qualified for all editions of the competition – except the 2018 tournament – but have never gone past the quarter-finals. This year’s competition, which was billed for 2020 but move due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is the seventh edition. En route to reaching the finals in India, the Flamingos beat DR Congo, Egypt, and Ethiopia in the African qualifiers.
Their best outings were in 2010, 2012, and 2014 where they finished in the last eight. As part of their preparations for the age-grade competition, Nigeria had a 10-day camp in Turkey, playing some friendly matches.
In India, Coach Bankole is expecting his team to hit the ground.
“We are excited to be starting the tournament by playing against one of the strongest women’s teams in the universe. It is a good challenge because if you’re going to win trophies, you must beat the best teams,” the Nigeria Football Federation quoted him as saying.
“Our focus is on getting the three points at stake, which will boost our confidence for the remaining games of the group phase and going forward in the competition.”
The continent also has other representatives – Morocco and Tanzania. The North Africans are playing hosts India, USA, and Brazil in Group A while Tanzania take on Japan, Canada, and France in Group D.
21 FLAMINGOS TO FLY NIGERIA’S FLAG IN INDIA:
Nigeria earlier called up 21 players for the competition as seen below:
Goalkeepers: Faith Omilana; Linda Jiwuaku; Jessica Inyiama
Defenders: Olamide Oyinlola; Josephine Edafe; Comfort Folorunsho; Miracle Usani; Tumininu Adeshina; Blessing Sunday; Alase Attervall; Immaculata Offiong
Midfield: Chidera Okenwa; Blessing Emmanuel; Mary Aderemi; Bisola Mosaku; Taiwo Afolabi
Forward: Omowunmi Bello; Opeyemi Ajakaye; Edidiong Etim; Alvine Dah-Zossu; Yetunde Ayantosho
Full Grouping For U-17 Women’s World Cup
GROUP A: India, USA, Morocco, Brazil
GROUP B: Germany, Nigeria, Chile, New Zealand
GROUP C: Spain, Colombia, Mexico, China
GROUP D: Japan, Tanzania, Canada, France