The Nigeria Football Federation on Wednesday charged the U-20 Women National Team, the Falconets, to fight hard and win the bronze medal match of the on-going FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup against hosts Japan on Saturday as consolation for Nigerians who had supported the team through the qualifying race and tournament proper.
Chairman of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee, High Chief Emeka Inyama urged the ladies not to be dispirited by the semi final loss to United States of America on Tuesday, as they were not in any way disgraced.
“Of course, the team was not disgraced. The players put up good fighting spirit and gave it their all, but it was not their day. They created more chances than the Americans, had greater ball possession and had more actual playing time than their opponents.
“We want them to go all out for the bronze medal on Saturday in order to console ball fans and the generality of Nigerians who have supported the team ever since. It is something they can do against the Japanese, by being well-organized and disciplined.”
Inyama revealed that the NFF is oiling its technical machine to discover more players for all the women teams, but noted that the performance of the Falconets in Japan means there is hope they could form the nucleus of the new
He said: “The age grade competitions are strictly developmental, and to that extent, the Falconets have done fairly enough to be considered for the next level.”
Nigeria take on the tournament hosts inside the 60,000-capacity Tokyo National Stadium on Saturday in the third place match of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup finals.
On Tuesday, the Falconets gave their all but failed to get beyond the Americans, and a goal each half against the run of play condemned the Nigerians to the third place match.
Final statistics showed that Nigeria had 32 minutes actual playing time to America’s 23, had 58% of possession, had 10 shots on goal and seven corner kicks to the Americans’ six.
Back at their Hilton Tokyo Hotel, Leader of delegation, Chief Effiong Johnson told the Falconets’ players and officials to take heart and rather look ahead to their third place match against Japan, saying the team was not disgraced and gave its all against the Americans.
The girls took Wednesday off to go and see the town, and will train on Thursday and Friday for the confrontation with the Japanese team on Saturday. All four teams left in the competition are staying at the Hilton Tokyo Hotel.