Flamingos set for historic clash against USA
The Nigeria’s U-17 women’s national team, the Flamingos, will tackle United States of America in Navi Mumbai in one of the quarter-final matches of the ongoing U-17 Women’s World Cup in India on Friday. The Flamingos lost narrowly, 2-1, to another powerhouse of women’s football, Germany in their first match of the competition, but have since overcome stage-fright and were worthy 4-0 and 2-1 winners over New Zealand and Chile respectively.
Navi Mumbai, a planned ultra-modern city that is only 25km from the Indian capital city of Mumbai, is the venue for this titanic clash set for the Dr. DY Patil Stadium as from 12 noon Nigerian time on Friday. Nigeria, who would be aiming to break their quarter-final jinx at this competition, are up against USA for the first time at this level, and this encounter is an opportunity for the West Africans to make history.
Having failed to reach the semi-finals in six previous editions, the Nigerians set out to achieve the impossible, ending the country’s 14-year wait for a last-four berth on their fourth quarter-final appearance.
The Americans will hope to reach the semis for the first time since 2008, when they finished as runners-up at the inaugural edition in New Zealand. Meanwhile, ex-Super Falcons stars are optimistic the Flamingos can overcome the United States of America and reach the semi-finals of the U-17 Women’s World Cup in India for the first time in the team’s history.
Speaking ahead of the Flamingos’ cracker against the Americans, Chioma Ajuwa, a former footballer, a member of the Falcons squad at the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1991, is optimistic about the Nigerians chances of reaching the last four.
“I will tell the girls to continue to remain calm and be focused, so that at the end of the day, they can come out in flying colours. They should go for the win, be very strong, put their heads up, be humble and pray for God’s favour to excel against the US,” Ajunwa stated.
Former Super Falcons midfielder, Rita Nwadike, is also confident the Flamingos can cause an upset against their more illustrious foes.
“Our girls have done well, but the game against the US will be a tough one. I believe in the competence of the coach and the quality of the players, that they can win the match and progress to the last four,” Nwadike told newsmen.
“Big names don’t play football, with determination, they can win on Friday. We have good players that can get the job done.”
She also rated Flamingos midfielder Opeyemi Ajakaye, who scooped back-to-back Player of The Match awards in their last two games, very high.
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