Duro Ikhazuagbe
After getting their campaign off on a worrying note, succumbing to a 6-0 bashing from Japan, Nigeria’s Falconets will today clash with Canada in a game to determine their continued stay at the ongoing FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Already, team’s gaffer, Peter Dedevbo has promised to make three key changes in the starting line -up today. It is expected to look different as Sweden-based Christy Ohiaeriaku takes up the gloves in place of first choice keeper and Captain, Sandra Chiichii, who is being rested for the game.

Midfielder Ihuoma Onyebuchi, who came in for Patience Kalu against Japan, will get a starting role, while midfielder Joy Bokiri who sat out the opening match, completes the changes expected in the squad. Other players including Ugochi Emenayo, Chinwendu Ihezuo, Yetunde Adeboyejo and Chinaza Uchendu retained their starting places in the team.

Dedevbo has reassured Nigerians that the changes will pay off positively, insisting that the adjustment is geared towards getting the points to keep hope alive in the tournament.

“The focus right now is on how to pick the maximum points against Canada. The line-up will change and most of the mistakes of the first game have been corrected. I remain optimistic that we will do a good job.”
The team took time off from training Tuesday evening to study the video clips of the game between Canada and Spain, which ended in a 5-0 win for the Spaniards.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Falconets yesterday evening joined millions of sportsmen and women around the globe in issuing red card to violence through the #ENDviolence campaign.

The #Endviolence campaign, which has been going round the camps of the 16 countries participating in this year’s FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea, seeks to raise awareness and create sporting champions who will speak up against violence towards women and children.

The filming of the campaign done by the poolside of the Crowne Plaza hotel, saw Falconets players’ chanting: “Be a champion, speak up against violence!” and then raising the red card with the #ENDviolence hashtag to the camera.

Three Falconets players, namely Chinwendu Ihezuo, Rasheedat Ajibade and Sandra ChiiChii, were selected to speak on other topics condemning violence before flashing the red card to the camera.

Ihezuo picked “Help us end violence”, Ajibade chose “Each child has the right to grow up without violence”, while ChiiChii ended the filming with the message: “We support same right for boys and girls.”

The red card campaign sees footballers as role models that have powers to make the invisible, visible and end violence against children and women in every form throughout the Pacific and around the world.